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24

Asia
Coordinating Lead Authors:
Yasuaki Hijioka (Japan), Erda Lin (China), Joy Jacqueline Pereira (Malaysia)

Lead Authors:
Richard T. Corlett (China), Xuefeng Cui (China), Gregory Insarov (Russian Federation),
Rodel Lasco (Philippines), Elisabet Lindgren (Sweden), Akhilesh Surjan (India)

Contributing Authors:
Elena M. Aizen (USA), Vladimir B. Aizen (USA), Rawshan Ara Begum (Bangladesh),
Kenshi Baba (Japan), Monalisa Chatterjee (USA/India), J. Graham Cogley (Canada),
Noah Diffenbaugh (USA), Li Ding (Singapore), Qingxian Gao (China), Matthias Garschagen
(Germany), Masahiro Hashizume (Japan), Manmohan Kapshe (India), Andrey G. Kostianoy
(Russia), Kathleen McInnes (Australia), Sreeja Nair (India), S.V.R.K. Prabhakar (India),
Yoshiki Saito (Japan), Andreas Schaffer (Singapore), Rajib Shaw (Japan), Dith Stone
(Canada/South Africa /USA), Reiner Wassman (Philippines), Thomas J. Wilbanks (USA),
Shaohong Wu (China)

Review Editors:
Rosa Perez (Philippines), Kazuhiko Takeuchi (Japan)

Volunteer Chapter Scientists:


Yuko Onishi (Japan), Wen Wang (China)

This chapter should be cited as:


Hijioka, Y., E. Lin, J.J. Pereira, R.T. Corlett, X. Cui, G.E. Insarov, R.D. Lasco, E. Lindgren, and A. Surjan, 2014: Asia.
In: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part B: Regional Aspects. Contribution of
Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
[Barros, V.R., C.B. Field, D.J. Dokken, M.D. Mastrandrea, K.J. Mach, T.E. Bilir, M. Chatterjee, K.L. Ebi,
Y.O. Estrada, R.C. Genova, B. Girma, E.S. Kissel, A.N. Levy, S. MacCracken, P.R. Mastrandrea, and L.L. White
(eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, pp. 1327-1370.

1327

Table of Contents
Executive Summary .......................................................................................................................................................... 1330
24.1. Introduction .......................................................................................................................................................... 1332
24.2. Major Conclusions from Previous Assessments .................................................................................................... 1332
Box 24-1. Whats New on Asia in AR5? ...................................................................................................................................... 1333

24.3. Observed and Projected Climate Change ............................................................................................................. 1333


24.3.1. Observed Climate Change .............................................................................................................................................................. 1333
24.3.1.1. Temperature .................................................................................................................................................................... 1333
24.3.1.2. Precipitation and Monsoons ............................................................................................................................................ 1333
24.3.1.3. Tropical and Extratropical Cyclones ................................................................................................................................. 1333
24.3.1.4. Surface Wind Speeds ....................................................................................................................................................... 1334
24.3.1.5. Oceans ............................................................................................................................................................................ 1334
24.3.2. Projected Climate Change .............................................................................................................................................................. 1334

24

24.3.2.1. Tropical and Extratropical Cyclones ................................................................................................................................. 1334


24.3.2.2. Monsoons ........................................................................................................................................................................ 1334
24.3.2.3. Oceans ............................................................................................................................................................................ 1334

24.4. Observed and Projected Impacts, Vulnerabilities, and Adaptation ....................................................................... 1334
24.4.1. Freshwater Resources ..................................................................................................................................................................... 1334
24.4.1.1. Sub-regional Diversity ..................................................................................................................................................... 1334
24.4.1.2. Observed Impacts ............................................................................................................................................................ 1337
24.4.1.3. Projected Impacts ............................................................................................................................................................ 1337
24.4.1.4. Vulnerabilities to Key Drivers ........................................................................................................................................... 1338
24.4.1.5. Adaptation Options ......................................................................................................................................................... 1338
24.4.2. Terrestrial and Inland Water Systems .............................................................................................................................................. 1339
24.4.2.1. Sub-regional Diversity ..................................................................................................................................................... 1339
24.4.2.2. Observed Impacts ............................................................................................................................................................ 1339
24.4.2.3. Projected Impacts ............................................................................................................................................................ 1340
24.4.2.4. Vulnerabilities to Key Drivers ........................................................................................................................................... 1341
24.4.2.5. Adaptation Options ......................................................................................................................................................... 1341
24.4.3. Coastal Systems and Low-Lying Areas ............................................................................................................................................ 1341
24.4.3.1. Sub-regional Diversity ..................................................................................................................................................... 1341
24.4.3.2. Observed Impacts ............................................................................................................................................................ 1342
24.4.3.3. Projected Impacts ............................................................................................................................................................ 1342
24.4.3.4. Vulnerabilities to Key Drivers ........................................................................................................................................... 1342
24.4.3.5. Adaptation Options ......................................................................................................................................................... 1343
24.4.4. Food Production Systems and Food Security ................................................................................................................................... 1343
24.4.4.1. Sub-regional Diversity ..................................................................................................................................................... 1343
24.4.4.2. Observed Impacts ............................................................................................................................................................ 1343
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24.4.4.3. Projected Impacts ............................................................................................................................................................ 1343


24.4.4.4. Vulnerabilities to Key Drivers ........................................................................................................................................... 1345
24.4.4.5. Adaptation Options ......................................................................................................................................................... 1345
24.4.5. Human Settlements, Industry, and Infrastructure ............................................................................................................................ 1346
24.4.5.1. Sub-regional Diversity ..................................................................................................................................................... 1346
24.4.5.2. Observed Impacts ............................................................................................................................................................ 1346
24.4.5.3. Projected Impacts ............................................................................................................................................................ 1346
24.4.5.4. Vulnerabilities to Key Drivers ........................................................................................................................................... 1347
24.4.5.5. Adaptation Options ......................................................................................................................................................... 1347
24.4.6. Human Health, Security, Livelihoods, and Poverty .......................................................................................................................... 1348
24.4.6.1. Sub-regional Diversity ..................................................................................................................................................... 1348
24.4.6.2. Observed Impacts ............................................................................................................................................................ 1348
24.4.6.3. Projected Impacts ............................................................................................................................................................ 1349
24.4.6.4. Vulnerabilities to Key Drivers ........................................................................................................................................... 1350
24.4.6.5. Adaptation Options ......................................................................................................................................................... 1350
24.4.7. Valuation of Impacts and Adaptation ............................................................................................................................................. 1350

24.5. Adaptation and Managing Risks ........................................................................................................................... 1351


24.5.1. Conservation of Natural Resources ................................................................................................................................................. 1351
24.5.2. Flood Risks and Coastal Inundation ................................................................................................................................................ 1351
24.5.3. Economic Growth and Equitable Development .............................................................................................................................. 1351
24.5.4. Mainstreaming and Institutional Barriers ....................................................................................................................................... 1351
24.5.5. Role of Higher Education in Adaptation and Risk Management ..................................................................................................... 1352

24.6. Adaptation and Mitigation Interactions ............................................................................................................... 1352


24.7. Intra-regional and Inter-regional Issues ............................................................................................................... 1353
24.7.1. Transboundary Pollution ................................................................................................................................................................. 1353
24.7.2. Trade and Economy ........................................................................................................................................................................ 1353
24.7.3. Migration and Population Displacement ......................................................................................................................................... 1353

24.8. Research and Data Gaps ....................................................................................................................................... 1353


24.9. Case Studies .......................................................................................................................................................... 1355
24.9.1. Transboundary Adaptation Planning and Management Lower Mekong River Basin ................................................................... 1355
24.9.2. Glaciers of Central Asia .................................................................................................................................................................. 1355

References ....................................................................................................................................................................... 1356


Frequently Asked Questions
24.1:

What will the projected impact of future climate change be on freshwater resources in Asia? ...................................................... 1338

24.2:

How will climate change affect food production and food security in Asia? ................................................................................... 1344

24.3:

Who is most at risk from climate change in Asia? .......................................................................................................................... 1347


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Chapter 24

Asia

Executive Summary
Warming trends and increasing temperature extremes have been observed across most of the Asian region over the past century
(high confidence). {24.3} Increasing numbers of warm days and decreasing numbers of cold days have been observed, with the warming
trend continuing into the new millennium. Precipitation trends including extremes are characterized by strong variability, with both increasing
and decreasing trends observed in different parts and seasons of Asia.
Water scarcity is expected to be a major challenge for most of the region as a result of increased water demand and lack of good
management (medium confidence). {24.4.3} Water resources are important in Asia because of the massive population and vary among
regions and seasons. However, there is low confidence in future precipitation projections at a sub-regional scale and thus in future freshwater
availability in most parts of Asia. Population growth and increasing demand arising from higher standards of living could worsen water security
in many parts in Asia and affect many people in the future. Integrated water management strategies could help adapt to climate change,
including developing water-saving technologies, increasing water productivity, and water reuse.
The impacts of climate change on food production and food security in Asia will vary by region, with many regions to experience
a decline in productivity (medium confidence). {24.4.4} This is evident in the case of rice production. Most models, using a range of
General Circulation Models (GCMs) and Special Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES) scenarios, show that higher temperatures will lead to
lower rice yields as a result of shorter growing periods. There are a number of regions that are already near the heat stress limits for rice.
However, carbon dioxide (CO2) fertilization may at least in part offset yield losses in rice and other crops. In Central Asia, some areas could be

24

winners (cereal production in northern and eastern Kazakhstan could benefit from the longer growing season, warmer winters, and slight
increase in winter precipitation), while others could be losers (western Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, where frequent droughts could negatively
affect cotton production, increase water demand for irrigation, and exacerbate desertification). In the Indo-Gangetic Plains of South Asia there
could be a decrease of about 50% in the most favorable and high-yielding wheat area as a result of heat stress at 2 times CO2. Sea level rise
will inundate low-lying areas and will especially affect rice growing regions. Many potential adaptation strategies are being practiced and
proposed but research studies on their effectiveness are still few.
Terrestrial systems in many parts of Asia have responded to recent climate change with shifts in the phenologies, growth rates,
and the distributions of plant species, and with permafrost degradation, and the projected changes in climate during the 21st
century will increase these impacts (high confidence). {24.4.2} Boreal trees will likely invade treeless arctic vegetation, while evergreen
conifers will likely invade deciduous larch forest. Large changes may also occur in arid and semiarid areas, but uncertainties in precipitation
projections make these more difficult to predict. The rates of vegetation change in the more densely populated parts of Asia may be reduced by
the impact of habitat fragmentation on seed dispersal, while the impacts of projected climate changes on the vegetation of the lowland tropics
are currently poorly understood. Changes in animal distributions have also been projected, in response to both direct impacts of climate
change and indirect impacts through changes in the availability of suitable habitats.
Coastal and marine systems in Asia are under increasing stress from both climatic and non-climatic drivers (high confidence).
{24.4.3} It is likely that mean sea level rise will contribute to upward trends in extreme coastal high water levels. {WGI AR5 3.7.6} In the Asian
Arctic, rising sea levels are expected to interact with projected changes in permafrost and the length of the ice-free season to cause increased
rates of coastal erosion (medium evidence, high agreement). Mangroves, salt marshes, and seagrass beds may decline unless they can move
inland, while coastal freshwater swamps and marshes will be vulnerable to saltwater intrusion with rising sea levels. Widespread damage to
coral reefs correlated with episodes of high sea surface temperature has been reported in recent decades and there is high confidence that
damage to reefs will increase during the 21st century as a result of both warming and ocean acidification. Marine biodiversity is expected to
increase at temperate latitudes as warmwater species expand their ranges northward (high confidence), but may decrease in the tropics if
thermal tolerance limits are exceeded (medium confidence).
Multiple stresses caused by rapid urbanization, industrialization, and economic development will be compounded by climate
change (high confidence). {24.4-7} Climate change is expected to adversely affect the sustainable development capabilities of most Asian
developing countries by aggravating pressures on natural resources and the environment. Development of sustainable cities in Asia with fewer
fossil fuel-driven vehicles and with more trees and greenery would have a number of co-benefits, including improved public health.
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Asia

Chapter 24

Extreme climate events will have an increasing impact on human health, security, livelihoods, and poverty, with the type and
magnitude of impact varying across Asia (high confidence). {24.4.6} More frequent and intense heat waves in Asia will increase mortality
and morbidity in vulnerable groups. Increases in heavy rain and temperature will increase the risk of diarrheal diseases, dengue fever, and
malaria. Increases in floods and droughts will exacerbate rural poverty in parts of Asia as a result of negative impacts on the rice crop and
resulting increases in food prices and the cost of living.
Studies of observed climate changes and their impacts are still inadequate for many areas, particularly in North, Central, and
West Asia (high confidence). {24.8} Improved projections for precipitation, and thus water supply, are most urgently needed. Understanding
of climate change impacts on ecosystems in Asia is currently limited by the incompleteness and inaccessibility of biodiversity information.
Major research gaps in the tropics include the temperature dependence of carbon fixation by tropical trees and the thermal tolerances and
acclimation capacities of both plants and animals. Interactions between climate change and the direct impacts of rising CO2 on crops and natural
ecosystems are also currently poorly understood. More research is needed on impacts, vulnerability, and adaptation in urban settlements,
especially cities with populations of less than 500,000. More generally, there is a need to develop low-cost adaptation measures appropriate to
the least developed parts of the region.

24

1331

Chapter 24

Asia

24.1. Introduction
Asia is defined here as the land and territories of 51 countries/regions
(see Figure 24-1). It can be broadly divided into six subregions based on
geographical position and coastal peripheries. These are, in alphabetical
order, Central Asia (5 countries), East Asia (7 countries/regions), North
Asia (2 countries), South Asia (8 countries), Southeast Asia (12 countries),
and West Asia (17 countries). The population of Asia was reported to be
about 4299 million in 2013, which is about 60% of the world population
(UN DESA Population Division, 2013). Population density was reportedly
about 134 per square kilometer in 2012 (PRB, 2012). The highest life
expectancy at birth is 84 (Japan) and the lowest is 50 (Afghanistan)
(CIA, 2013). The gross domestic product (GDP) per capita ranged from
US$620 (Afghanistan for 2011) to US$51,709 (Singapore for 2012)
(World Bank, 2013).

24.2. Major Conclusions


from Previous Assessments

24

Major highlights from previous assessments for Asia include:


Warming trends, including higher extremes, are strongest over the
continental interiors of Asia, and warming in the period 1979 onward
was strongest over China in winter, and northern and eastern Asia
in spring and autumn (WGI AR4 Section 3.2.2.7; SREX Section 3.3.1).

Central Asia (5)

North Asia (2)

Kazakhstan
Kyrgyzstan
Tajikistan
Turkmenistan
Uzbekistan

Mongolia
Russia (East of Urals)

West Asia (17)


Armenia
Azerbaijan
Bahrain
Georgia
Iran
Iraq
Israel
Jordan
Kuwait
Lebanon
Palestine
Oman
Qatar
Saudi Arabia
Syria
United Arab Emirates
Yemen

From 1900 to 2005, precipitation increased significantly in northern


and central Asia but declined in parts of southern Asia (WGI AR4
SPM).
Future climate change is likely to affect water resource scarcity with
enhanced climate variability and more rapid melting of glaciers
(WGII AR4 Section 10.4.2).
Increased risk of extinction for many plant and animal species in
Asia is likely as a result of the synergistic effects of climate change
and habitat fragmentation (WGII AR4 Section 10.4.4).
Projected sea level rise is very likely to result in significant losses
of coastal ecosystems (WGII AR4 Sections 10.4.3.2, 10.6.1).
There will be regional differences within Asia in the impacts of climate
change on food production (WGII AR4 Section 10.4.1.1).
Due to projected sea level rise, a million or so people along the
coasts of South and Southeast Asia will likely be at risk from flooding
(high confidence; WGII AR4 Section 10.4.3.1).
It is likely that climate change will impinge on sustainable development
of most developing countries of Asia as it compounds the pressures
on natural resources and the environment associated with rapid
urbanization, industrialization, and economic development (WGII
AR4 Section 10.7).
Vulnerabilities of industry, infrastructure, settlements, and society
to climate change are generally greater in certain high-risk
locations, particularly coastal and riverine areas (WGII AR4 Sections
7.3-5).

East Asia (7)


China, Hong Kong Special
Administrative Region
(Hong Kong SAR)
China, Macao Special
Administrative Region
Japan
North Korea
Peoples Republic of China
(China)
South Korea
Taiwan Province of China
(Taiwan POC)

Southeast Asia (12)


Brunei
Indonesia
Lao People's
Democratic Republic

South Asia (8)


Afghanistan
Bangladesh
Bhutan
India
Maldives
Nepal
Pakistan
Sri Lanka

Malaysia
Myanmar
Papua New Guinea
The Philippines
Peoples Republic of
Cambodia

Singapore
Thailand
Timor-Leste
Vietnam

Figure 24-1 | The land and territories of 51 countries/regions in Asia. Maps contained in this report are only for the purpose of geographic information reference.

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Asia

Chapter 24

Box 24-1 | Whats New on Asia in AR5?

There is improved country coverage on observed and


future impacts of climate change.

There is an increase in the number of studies reecting


advances in research tools (e.g., more use of remote
sensing and modeling of impacts), with an evaluation
of detection and attribution where feasible.

More conclusions have condence statements, while


condence levels have changed in both directions
since AR4.

decades (WGI AR5 Section 14.8.10). Across Southeast Asia, temperature


has been increasing at a rate of 0.14C to 0.20C per decade since the
1960s, coupled with a rising number of hot days and warm nights, and
a decline in cooler weather (see WGI AR5 Section 14.8.12).

Expanded coverage of issuesfor example, discussion


of the Himalayas has been expanded to cover observed
and projected impacts (Box 3-2), including those on
tourism (see Section 10.6.2); livelihood assets such as
water and food (Sections 9.3.3.1, 13.3.1.1, 18.5.3,
19.6.3); poverty (Section 13.3.2.3); culture (Section
12.3.2); ood risks (Sections 18.3.1.1, 24.2.1); health
risks (Section 24.4.6.2); and ecosystems (Section
24.4.2.2).

24.3. Observed and Projected Climate Change


24.3.1. Observed Climate Change
24.3.1.1. Temperature
It is very likely that mean annual temperature has increased over the
past century over most of the Asia region, but there are areas of the
interior and at high latitudes where the monitoring coverage is insufficient
for the assessment of trends (see WGI AR5 Chapter 2; Figure 24-2). New
analyses continue to support the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) and
IPCC Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and
Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX) conclusions
that it is likely that the numbers of cold days and nights have decreased
and the numbers of warm days and nights have increased across most
of Asia since about 1950, and heat wave frequency has increased since
the middle of the 20th century in large parts of Asia (see WGI AR5 Section
2.6.1).
As a part of the polar amplification, large warming trends (>2C per
50 years) in the second half of the 20th century were observed in the
northern Asian sector (see WGI AR5 Section 14.8.8). Over the period
19012009, the warming trend was particularly strong in the cold season
between November and March, with an increase of 2.4C in the midlatitude semiarid area of Asia (see WGI AR5 Section 14.8.8). Increasing
annual mean temperature trends at the country scale in East and South
Asia have been observed during the 20th century (Table SM24-1). In
West Asia, upward temperature trends are notable and robust in recent

24.3.1.2. Precipitation and Monsoons


Most areas of the Asian region lack sufficient observational records to
draw conclusions about trends in annual precipitation over the past
century (see WGI AR5 Chapter 2; Figure 24-2; Table SM24-2). Precipitation
trends, including extremes, are characterized by strong variability, with
both increasing and decreasing trends observed in different parts and
seasons of Asia (see WGI AR5 Chapter 14; Table SM24-2). In northern Asia,
the observations indicate some increasing trends of heavy precipitation
events, but in central Asia, no spatially coherent trends were found (see
WGI AR5 Section 14.8.8). Both the East Asian summer and winter monsoon
circulations have experienced an inter-decadal scale weakening after the
1970s, due to natural variability of the coupled climate system, leading
to enhanced mean and extreme precipitation along the Yangtze River
valley (30N), but deficient mean precipitation in North China in summer
(see WGI AR5 Section 14.8.9). A weakening of the East Asian summer
monsoon since the 1920s was also found in sea level pressure gradients
(low confidence; see WGI AR5 Section 2.7.4). In West Asia, a weak but
non-significant downward trend in mean precipitation was observed in
recent decades, although with an increase in intense weather events
(see WGI AR5 Section 14.8.10). In South Asia, seasonal mean rainfall
shows inter-decadal variability, noticeably a declining trend with more
frequent deficit monsoons under regional inhomogeneities (see WGI AR5
Section 14.8.11). Over India, the increase in the number of monsoon
break days and the decline in the number of monsoon depressions are
consistent with the overall decrease in seasonal mean rainfall (see
WGI AR5 Section 14.8.11). But an increase in extreme rainfall events
occurred at the expense of weaker rainfall events over the central Indian
region and in many other areas (see WGI AR5 Section 14.2.2.1). In South
Asia, the frequency of heavy precipitation events is increasing, while
light rain events are decreasing (see WGI AR5 Section 14.8.11). In
Southeast Asia, annual total wet-day rainfall has increased by 22 mm
per decade, while rainfall from extreme rain days has increased by 10
mm per decade, but climate variability and trends differ vastly across the
region and between seasons (see WGI AR5 Sections 14.4.12, 14.8.12).
In Southeast Asia, between 1955 and 2005 the ratio of rainfall in the
wet to the dry seasons increased. While an increasing frequency of
extreme events has been reported in the northern parts of Southeast
Asia, decreasing trends in such events are reported in Myanmar (see
WGI AR5 Section 14.4.12). In Peninsular Malaya during the southwest
monsoon season, total rainfall and the frequency of wet days decreased,
but rainfall intensity increased in much of the region. On the other hand,
during the northeast monsoon, total rainfall, the frequency of extreme
rainfall events, and rainfall intensity all increased over the peninsula
(see WGI AR5 Section 14.4.12).

24.3.1.3. Tropical and Extratropical Cyclones


Significant trends in tropical cyclones making landfall are not found on
shorter timescales. Time series of cyclone indices show weak upward
1333

24

Chapter 24

trends in the western North Pacific since the late 1970s, but interpretation
of longer term trends is constrained by data quality concerns (see WGI
AR5 Section 2.6.3). A decrease in extratropical cyclone activity and
intensity over the last 50 years has been reported for northern Eurasia
(60N to 40N), including lower latitudes in East Asia (see WGI AR5
Section 2.6.4).

24.3.1.4. Surface Wind Speeds


Over land in China, including the Tibetan region, a weakening of the
seasonal and annual mean winds, as well as the maximums, is reported
from around the 1960s or 1970s to the early 2000s (low confidence;
see WGI AR5 Section 2.7.2).

24.3.1.5. Oceans

24

A warming maximum is observed at 25N to 65N with signals extending


to 700 m depth and is consistent with poleward displacement of the
mean temperature field (WGI AR5 Section 3.2.2). The pH measurements
between 1983 and 2008 in the western North Pacific showed a 0.0018
0.0002 yr1 decline in winter and 0.0013 0.0005 yr1 decline in
summer (see WGI AR5 Section 3.8.2). Over the period 19932010, large
rates of sea level rise in the western tropical Pacific were reported,
corresponding to an increase in the strength of the trade winds in the
central and eastern tropical Pacific (see WGI AR5 Section 13.6.1). Spatial
variation in trends in Asian regional sea level may also be specific to a
particular sea or ocean basin. For example, a rise of 5.4 0.3 mm yr1
in the Sea of Japan from 1993 to 2001 is nearly two times the global
mean sea level (GMSL) trend, with more than 80% of this rise being
thermosteric, and regional changes of sea level in the Indian Ocean that
have emerged since the 1960s are driven by changing surface winds
associated with a combined enhancement of Hadley and Walker cells
(see WGI AR5 Section 13.6.1).

Asia

areas by the late-21st century. Under the RCP2.6 scenario, increases are
likely at high latitudes by the mid-21st century, while it is likely that
changes at low latitudes will not substantially exceed natural variability.

24.3.2.1. Tropical and Extratropical Cyclones


The future influence of climate change on tropical cyclones is likely to
vary by region, but there is low confidence in region-specific projections
of frequency and intensity. However, better process understanding and
model agreement in specific regions indicate that precipitation will likely
be more extreme near the centers of tropical cyclones making landfall
in West, East, South, and Southeast Asia (see WGI AR5 Sections 14.6,
14.8.9-12). There is medium confidence that a projected poleward shift
in the North Pacific storm track of extratropical cyclones is more likely
than not. There is low confidence in the magnitude of regional storm track
changes and the impact of such changes on regional surface climate (see
WGI AR5 Section 14.6).

24.3.2.2. Monsoons
Future increases in precipitation extremes related to the monsoon are
very likely in East, South, and Southeast Asia (see WGI AR5 Sections
14.2.1, 14.8.9, 14.8.11-12). More than 85% of CMIP5 models show an
increase in mean precipitation in the East Asian summer monsoons, while
more than 95% of models project an increase in heavy precipitation
events (see WGI AR5 Section 14.2.2, Figure 14.4). All models and all
scenarios project an increase in both the mean and extreme precipitation
in the Indian summer monsoon (see WGI AR5 Section 14.2.2 and Southern
Asia (SAS) in Figure 14.4). In these two regions, the interannual standard
deviation of seasonal mean precipitation also increases (see WGI AR5
Section 14.2.2).

24.3.2.3. Oceans
24.3.2. Projected Climate Change
The AR4 assessed that warming is very likely in the 21st century
(Christensen et al., 2007), and that assessment still holds for all land
areas of Asia in the mid- and late-21st century, based on the Coupled
Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) simulations under all
four Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) scenarios (Figures
24-2, SM24-1; Table SM24-3). Ensemble-mean changes in mean annual
temperature exceed 2C above the late-20th-century baseline over most
land areas in the mid-21st century under RCP8.5, and range from
greater than 3C over South and Southeast Asia to greater than 6C
over high latitudes in the late-21st century. The ensemble-mean changes
are less than 2C above the late-20th-century baseline in both the midand late-21st century under RCP2.6, with the exception of changes
between 2C and 3C over the highest latitudes.
Projections of future annual precipitation change are qualitatively similar
to those assessed in the AR4 (Christensen et al., 2007; see Figure 24-2).
Precipitation increases are very likely at higher latitudes by the mid21st century under the RCP8.5 scenario, and over eastern and southern
1334

The ocean in subtropical and tropical regions will warm in all RCP
scenarios and will show the strongest warming signal at the surface
(WGI AR5 Section 12.4.7, Figure 12.12). Negligible change or a decrease
in mean significant wave heights are projected for the trade and monsoon
wind regions of the Indian Ocean (see WGI AR5 Section 13.7.3).

24.4. Observed and Projected Impacts,


Vulnerabilities, and Adaptation
Key observed and projected climate change impacts are summarized in
Tables 24-1, SM24-4, and SM24-5 (based on Sections 24.4.1-6).

24.4.1. Freshwater Resources


24.4.1.1. Sub-regional Diversity
Freshwater resources are very important in Asia because of the massive
population and heavy economic dependence on agriculture, but water

Asia

Chapter 24

Annual Temperature Change


Trend over 19012012
(C over period)

Difference from 19862005 mean


(C)

late 21st century

RCP2.6

RCP8.5

mid 21st century

Trend in annual precipitation over 19512010


(mm/year per decade)
100 50 25 10 5 2.5 0 2.5 5

10 25 50

Annual Precipitation
Change

Difference from 19862005 mean (%)


20

0 20 40

late 21st century

RCP2.6

RCP8.5

mid 21st century

24

Solid Color

Significant
trend

White

Insufficient
data

Diagonal Lines

Trend not
statistically
significant

Solid Color
Gray

Very strong
agreement
Divergent
changes

White Dots

Strong
agreement

Little or
Diagonal Lines no change

Figure 24-2 | Observed and projected changes in annual average temperature and precipitation in Asia. (Top panel, left) Map of observed annual average temperature change
from 19012012, derived from a linear trend. [WGI AR5 Figures SPM.1 and 2.21] (Bottom panel, left) Map of observed annual precipitation change from 19512010, derived
from a linear trend. [WGI AR5 Figures SPM.2 and 2.29] For observed temperature and precipitation, trends have been calculated where sufcient data permit a robust estimate
(i.e., only for grid boxes with greater than 70% complete records and more than 20% data availability in the rst and last 10% of the time period). Other areas are white. Solid
colors indicate areas where trends are signicant at the 10% level. Diagonal lines indicate areas where trends are not signicant. (Top and bottom panel, right) CMIP5
multi-model mean projections of annual average temperature changes and average percent changes in annual mean precipitation for 20462065 and 20812100 under RCP2.6
and 8.5, relative to 19862005. Solid colors indicate areas with very strong agreement, where the multi-model mean change is greater than twice the baseline variability (natural
internal variability in 20-yr means) and 90% of models agree on sign of change. Colors with white dots indicate areas with strong agreement, where 66% of models show
change greater than the baseline variability and 66% of models agree on sign of change. Gray indicates areas with divergent changes, where 66% of models show change
greater than the baseline variability, but <66% agree on sign of change. Colors with diagonal lines indicate areas with little or no change, where <66% of models show change
greater than the baseline variability, although there may be signicant change at shorter timescales such as seasons, months, or days. Analysis uses model data and methods
building from WGI AR5 Figure SPM.8. See also Annex I of WGI AR5. [Boxes 21-2 and CC-RC]

1335

Chapter 24

Asia

Table 24-1 | Key risks from climate change and the potential for risk reduction through mitigation and adaptation in Asia. Key risks are identified based on assessment of the
literature and expert judgments, with supporting evaluation of evidence and agreement in the referenced chapter sections. Each key risk is characterized as very low, low,
medium, high, or very high. Risk levels are presented for the near-term era of committed climate change (here, for 20302040), in which projected levels of global mean
temperature increase do not diverge substantially across emissions scenarios. Risk levels are also presented for the longer term era of climate options (here, for 20802100), for
global mean temperature increase of 2C and 4C above pre-industrial levels. For each time frame, risk levels are estimated for the current state of adaptation and for a
hypothetical highly adapted state. As the assessment considers potential impacts on different physical, biological, and human systems, risk levels should not necessarily be used
to evaluate relative risk across key risks. Relevant climate variables are indicated by symbols.
Level of risk & potential for adaptation

Climate-related drivers of impacts

Potential for additional adaptation


to reduce risk
O

Warming
trend

Extreme
temperature

Key risk
Increased risk of crop failure and lower
crop production could lead to food
insecurity in Asia (medium confidence)

Extreme
precipitation

Drying
trend

Damaging
cyclone

Sea
level

Adaptation issues & prospects

Ocean
acidification

Climatic
drivers

Risk level with


high adaptation

Timeframe

Autonomous adaptation of farmers on-going in many parts of Asia.

Risk level with


current adaptation

Risk & potential for


adaptation
Very
low

Medium

Very
high

Very
low

Medium

Very
high

Very
low

Medium

Very
high

Very
low

Medium

Very
high

Very
low

Medium

Very
high

Very
low

Medium

Very
high

Very
low

Medium

Very
high

Present
Near term
(2030-2040)

[24.4.4]

Long term 2C
(20802100)
4C

Water shortage in arid areas of Asia


(medium confidence)

Limited capacity for water resource adaptation; options include


developing water saving technology, changing drought-resilient crops,
building more water reservoirs.

[24.4.1.3, 24.4.1.4]

24

Present
Near term
(20302040)
Long term 2C
(20802100)
4C

Increased riverine, coastal, and urban


flooding leading to widespread
damage to infrastructure, livelihoods,
and settlements in Asia
(medium confidence)
[24.4]

Increased risk of flood-related deaths,


injuries, infectious diseases and mental
disorders (medium confidence)

Exposure reduction via structural and non-structural measures, effective


land-use planning, and selective relocation
Reduction in the vulnerability of lifeline infrastructure and services (e.g., water,
energy, waste management, food, biomass, mobility, local ecosystems,
telecommunications)
Construction of monitoring and early warning systems; Measures to identify
exposed areas, assist vulnerable areas and households, and diversify livelihoods
Economic diversification
Disaster preparedness including early-warning systems and local coping
strategies.

[24.4.6.2, 24.4.6.3, 24.4.6.5]

Present
Near term
(20302040)
Long-term 2C
(20802100)4C

Present
Near term
(20302040)
Long term 2C
(20802100)4C

Increased risk of heat-related mortality


(high confidence)
[24.4]

Heat health warning systems


Urban planning to reduce heat islands; Improvement of the built
environment; Development of sustainable cities
New work practices to avoid heat stress among outdoor workers

Present
Near term
(20302040)
Long term 2C
(20802100)4C

Increased risk of drought-related water


and food shortage causing malnutrition
(high confidence)
[24.4]

Disaster preparedness including early-warning systems and local coping


strategies
Adaptive/integrated water resource management
Water infrastructure and reservoir development
Diversification of water sources including water re-use
More efficient use of water (e.g., improved agricultural practices,
irrigation management, and resilient agriculture)

Increased risk of water and vector-borne Early-warning systems, vector control programs, water management and
diseases (medium confidence)
sanitation programs.
[24.4.6.2, 24.4.6.3, 24.4.6.5]

Present
Near term
(20302040)
Long term 2C
(20802100)
4C

Present
Near term
(20302040)
Long term 2C
(20802100)
4C

Continued next page

1336

Asia

Chapter 24

Table 24-1 (continued)


Key risk
Exacerbated poverty, inequalities and new
vulnerabilities (high confidence)

Adaptation issues & prospects

Climatic
drivers

Insufficient emphasis and limited understanding on urban poverty,


interaction between livelihoods, poverty and climate change.

Timeframe

Risk & potential for


adaptation
Very
low

Medium

Very
high

Very
low

Medium

Very
high

Very
low

Medium

Very
high

Present
Near term
(20302040)

[24.4.5, 24.4.6]

Long term 2C
(20802100)
4C

Coral reef decline in Asia (high confidence)


[24.4.3.3, 24.4.3.5, CC-CR, CC-OA]

The limited adaptation options include minimizing additional stresses in


marine protected areas sited where sea surface temperatures are expected
to change least and reef resilience is expected to be highest.

Present
Near term
(20302040)
O

Long term 2C
(20802100)
4C

Mountain-top extinctions in Asia


(high confidence)

Adaptation options are limited. Reducing non-climate impacts and


maximizing habitat connectivity will reduce risks to some extent, while
assisted migration may be practical for some species.

[24.4.2.4, 24.4.2.5]

Present
Near term
(20302040)
Long term 2C
(20802100)
4C

availability is highly uneven and requires assessment on the subregional scale because of Asias huge range of climates (Pfister et al.,
2009).
Adequate water supply is one of the major challenges in many regions
(Vrsmarty et al., 2010), particularly Central Asia. Growing demand
for water is driven by soaring populations, increasing per capita domestic
use due to urbanization and thriving economic growth, and increasing
use of irrigation.

3-1) and the surrounding areas; and on Puncak Jaya, Papua, Indonesia
lost 9 to 80% of their total area in different periods within the 1895
2010 time interval (Ananicheva et al., 2005, 2006; Anisimov et al., 2008;
Prentice and Glidden, 2010; Allison, 2011; Shahgedanova et al., 2012;
Yao, T. et al., 2012; Stokes et al., 2013) due to increased temperature
(Casassa et al., 2009; Shrestha and Aryal, 2011). Changes in the Kamchatka
glaciers are driven by both warming and volcanic activity, with the area
of some glaciers decreasing, while others increased because they are
covered by ash and clinker (Anisimov et al., 2008).

24.4.1.2. Observed Impacts

24.4.1.3. Projected Impacts

The impact of changes in climate, particularly precipitation, on water


resources varies cross Asia (Table SM24-4). There is medium confidence
that water scarcity in northern China has been exacerbated by decreasing
precipitation, doubling population, and expanding water withdrawal
(Xu et al., 2010). There is no evidence that suggests significant changes
of groundwater in the Kherlen River Basin in Mongolia over the past
half century (Brutsaert and Sugita, 2008). Apart from water availability,
there is medium confidence that climate change also leads to degradation
of water quality in most regions of Asia (Delpla et al., 2009; Park et al.,
2010), although this is also heavily influenced by human activities
(Winkel et al., 2011).

Projected impacts of climate change on future water availability in Asia


differ substantially among river basins and seasons (A1B scenario with
five General Circulation Models (GCMs): Immerzeel et al., 2010; A1B
with Meteorological Research Institute of Japan Meteorological Agency
(MRI)-Atmospheric General Circulation Models (AGCMs): Nakaegawa
et al., 2013). There is high confidence that water demand in most
Asian countries is increasing because of increases in population, irrigated
agriculture (Lal, 2011), and industry.

Glaciers are important stores of water and any changes have the
potential to influence downstream water supply in the long term (see
Section 24.9.2). Glacier mass loss shows a heterogeneous pattern across
Asia (Gardner et al., 2013).

Future projections (A1B with MRI-AGCMs) suggest a decrease in


river runoff in January in the Chao Phraya River basin in Thailand
(Champathong et al., 2013). In a study of the Mahanadi River Basin in
India, a water availability projection (A2, Coupled General Circulation
Model 2 (CGCM2)) indicated increasing possibility of floods in September
but increasing water scarcity in April (Asokan and Dutta, 2008).

Glaciers in the polar section of the Ural Mountains; in the Kodar


Mountains of Southeast Siberia; in the Suntar Khayata and Chersky
Ranges of Northeast Siberia; in Georgia and Azerbaijan on the southern
flank of the Greater Caucasus Range; on the Tibetan Plateau (see Box

24.4.1.3.1. Tropical Asia

In the Ganges, an increase in river runoff could offset the large increases
in water demand due to population growth in a +4C world (ensemble
1337

24

Chapter 24

Asia

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ 24.1 | What will the projected impact of future climate change
be on freshwater resources in Asia?
Asia is a huge and diverse region, so both climate change and the impact on freshwater resources will vary greatly
depending on location. But throughout the region, adequate water resources are particularly important because
of the massive population and heavy dependence of the agricultural sector on precipitation, river runoff, and
groundwater. Overall, there is low confidence in the projections of specifically how climate change will impact future
precipitation on a sub-regional scale, and thus in projections of how climate change might impact the availability
of water resources. However, water scarcity is expected to be a big challenge in many Asian regions because of
increasing water demand from population growth and consumption per capita with higher standards of living.
Shrinkage of glaciers in central Asia is expected to increase as a result of climate warming, which will influence
downstream river runoff in these regions. Better water management strategies could help ease water scarcity.
Examples include developing water saving technologies in irrigation, building reservoirs, increasing water productivity,
changing cropping systems, and water reuse.

GCMs), due to a projected large increase in average rainfall, although


high uncertainties remain at the seasonal scale (Fung et al., 2011).

24
24.4.1.3.2. Northern and temperate Asia
Projections (A2 and B2 with the Global Assessment of Security (GLASS)
model) suggest an increase in average water availability in Russia in
the 2070s (Alcamo et al., 2007). In China, a projection (downscaling
Hadley Centre Atmospheric Model version 3H (HadAM3H) A2 and B2
scenarios with the Providing Regional Climates for Impacts Studies
(PRECIS) regional model) suggests that there will be insufficient water
for agriculture in the 2020s and 2040s due to the increases in water
demand for non-agricultural uses, although precipitation may increase
in some areas (Xiong et al., 2010). In the late-21st century (MRI-AGCMs,
A1B), river discharge in northern Japan is projected to increase in
February but decrease in May, due to increased winter precipitation and
decreased spring snowmelt (Sato et al., 2013).

24.4.1.3.3. Central and West Asia


Given the already very high level of water stress in many parts of Central
Asia, projected temperature increases and precipitation decreases (SRES
scenarios from IPCC AR4, 23 models) in the western part of Kazakhstan,
Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan could exacerbate the problems of water
shortage and distribution (Lioubimtseva and Henebry, 2009). Considering
the dependence of Uzbekistans economy on its irrigated agriculture,
which consumes more than 90% of the available water resources of
the Amu Darya basin, climate change impacts on river flows would also
strongly affect the economy (Schlter et al., 2010).

24.4.1.4. Vulnerabilities to Key Drivers


It is suggested that freshwater resources will be influenced by changes
in rainfall variability, snowmelt, glacier retreat (Im et al., 2010; Li, Z. et
1338

al., 2010; Sato et al., 2012; Yamanaka et al., 2012; Nakaegawa et al.,
2013), or evapotranspiration in the river catchment, which are associated
with climate change (Jian et al., 2009). Mismanagement of water resources
has increased tension because of water scarcity in arid areas (Biswas and
Seetharam, 2008; Lioubimtseva and Henebry, 2009; Siegfried et al., 2010;
Aarnoudse et al., 2012). Unsustainable consumption of groundwater
for irrigation and other uses is considered to be the main cause of
groundwater depletion in the Indian states of Rajasthan, Punjab, and
Haryana (Rodell et al., 2009).

24.4.1.5. Adaptation Options


Adaptation of freshwater resources to climate change can be identified
as developing adaptive/integrated water resource management (Sadoff
and Muller, 2009; Schlter et al., 2010) of the trade-offs balancing water
availability against increasing demand, in order to cope with uncertainty
and change (Molle and Hoanh, 2009).
Examples of the options include: developing water saving technologies
in irrigation (Ngoundo et al., 2007); water infrastructure development
in the Ganges river basin (Bharati et al., 2011); increasing water
productivity in the Indus and Ganges river basins (Cai et al., 2010),
Taiwan, China, and the Philippines (Barker and Levine, 2012), and
Uzbekistan (Tischbein et al., 2011); changing cropping systems and
patterns in West Asia (Thomas, 2008); and water reuse in China (Yi et
al., 2011). During the second half of the 20th century, Asia built many
reservoirs and almost tripled its surface water withdrawals for irrigation
(Biemans et al., 2011). Reservoirs partly mitigate seasonal differences
and increase water availability for irrigation (Biemans et al., 2011).
Water management in river basins would benefit from integrated
coordination among countries (Kranz et al., 2010). For example, water
management in the Syr Darya river basin relates to Kyrgyzstan,
Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan (Siegfried et al.,
2010), while the Indus and Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna river basins
concern Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan (Uprety and Salman,
2011).

Asia

24.4.2. Terrestrial and Inland Water Systems


24.4.2.1. Sub-regional Diversity
Boreal forests and grasslands dominate in North Asia, deserts and semideserts in Central and West Asia, and alpine ecosystems on the Tibetan
Plateau. Human-dominated landscapes predominate in the other subregions, but the major natural ecosystems are temperate deciduous and
subtropical evergreen forests in East Asia, with boreal forest in the
northeast and grasslands and deserts in the west, while Southeast Asia
was largely covered in tropical forests. South Asia also has tropical
forests, with semi-desert in the northwest and alpine ecosystems in the
north. Asia includes several of the worlds largest river systems, as well
as the worlds deepest freshwater lake, Lake Baikal, the semi-saline
Caspian Sea, and the saline Aral Sea.

Chapter 24

(>60N) show considerable spatial and temporal variability, despite a


consistent warming trend, reflecting water availability and non-climatic
factors (Bi et al., 2013; Jeong et al., 2013). Arctic tundra generally showed
increased greening since 1982, while boreal forests were variable (Goetz
et al., 2011; de Jong et al., 2012; Epstein et al., 2012; Xu et al., 2013).
An overall greening trend for 20002011 north of the boreal forest
correlated with increasing summer warmth and ice retreat (Dutrieux et
al., 2012). In China, trends have varied in space and time, reflecting
positive impacts of warming and negative impacts of increasing drought
stress (Peng et al., 2011; Sun et al., 2012; Xu et al., 2012). The steppe
region of northern Kazakhstan showed an overall browning (decreasing
NDVI) trend for 19822008, linked to declining precipitation (de Jong et
al., 2012). In Central Asia, where NDVI is most sensitive to precipitation
(Gessner et al., 2013), there was a heterogeneous pattern for 1982
2009, with an initial greening trend stalled or reversed in some areas
(Mohammat et al., 2013).

Biological changes consistent with climate trends have been reported in


the north and at high altitudes, where rising temperatures have relaxed
constraints on plant growth and the distributions of organisms. Few
changes have been reported from tropical lowlands and none linked to
climate change with high confidence, although data are insufficient to
distinguish lack of observations from lack of impacts. Impacts on inland
water systems have been difficult to disentangle from natural variability
and other human impacts (Bates et al., 2008; Vrsmarty et al., 2010;
Zheng, 2011; see Section 4.3.3.3). For example, the shrinking of the Aral
Sea over the last 50 years has resulted largely from excessive water
extraction from rivers, but was probably exacerbated by decreasing
precipitation and increasing temperature (Lioubimtseva and Henebry,
2009; Kostianoy and Kosarev, 2010).

Tree-ring data for 8001989 for temperate East Asia suggests recent
summer temperatures have exceeded those during past warm periods
of similar length, although this difference was not statistically significant
(Cook et al., 2012). Where temperature limits tree growth, growth rates
have increased with warming in recent decades (Duan et al., 2010; Sano
et al., 2010; Shishov and Vaganov, 2010; Borgaonkar et al., 2011; Xu et
al., 2011; Chen et al., 2012a,b,c,d, 2013; Li et al., 2012), while where
drought limits growth, there have been increases (Li et al., 2006; Davi
et al., 2009; Shao et al., 2010; Yang et al., 2010) or decreases (Li et al.,
2007; Dulamsuren et al., 2010a, 2011; Kang et al., 2012; Wu et al., 2012;
Kharuk et al., 2013; Liu et al., 2013b), reflecting decreasing or increasing
water stress (high confidence in detection, medium confidence in
attribution to climate change). In boreal forest, trends varied between
species and locations, despite consistent warming (Lloyd and Bunn,
2007; Goetz et al., 2011).

24.4.2.2.1. Phenology and growth rates

24.4.2.2.2. Distributions of species and biomes

In humid temperate East Asia, plant observations and satellite


measurements of greenness (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index
(NDVI); see Section 4.3.2.2) show a trend to earlier leafing in spring
since the 1980s, averaging 2 days per decade, although details vary
between sites, species, and periods (Table SM24-6; detected with high
confidence and attributed to warming with medium confidence). Earlier
spring flowering and delayed autumn senescence have also been
recorded (Table SM24-6). Trends in semiarid temperate regions were
heterogeneous in space and time (Liu et al., 2013a; Yu, Z. et al., 2013a,b).
Earlier greening has been reported from boreal forests (Delbart et al.,
2008) and from the Hindu-Kush-Himalayan region (Panday and Ghimire,
2012; Shrestha et al., 2012), but with spatial and temporal heterogeneity.
Patterns were also heterogeneous in Central Asia (Kariyeva et al., 2012).
On the Tibetan Plateau, spring growth advanced until the mid-1990s,
but the trend subsequently differs between areas and NDVI data sets
(Yu et al., 2010, 2012; Dong et al., 2013; Jin et al., 2013; Shen et al.,
2013; Yu, Z. et al., 2013a; Zhang, G. et al., 2013; Zhang, L. et al., 2013).

Changes in species distributions consistent with a response to warming


have been widely reported: upwards in elevation (Soja et al., 2007;
Bickford et al., 2010; Kharuk et al., 2010a,b,e; Moiseev et al., 2010; Chen
et al., 2011; Jump et al., 2012; Grigorev et al., 2013; Telwala et al., 2013)
or polewards (Tougou et al., 2009; Ogawa-Onishi and Berry, 2013) (high
confidence in detection, medium confidence in attribution to climate
change). Changes in the distributions of major vegetation types (biomes)
have been reported from the north and high altitudes, where trees are
invading treeless vegetation, and forest understories are being invaded
from adjacent biomes (Kharuk et al., 2006; Soja et al., 2007; Bai et al.,
2011; Singh et al., 2012; Wang and Liu, 2012). In central Siberia, dark
needle conifers (DNCs) and birch have invaded larch-dominated forest
over the last 3 decades (Kharuk et al., 2010c,d; Osawa et al., 2010; Lloyd
et al., 2011). Meanwhile, warming has driven larch stand crown closure
and larch invasion into tundra at a rate of 3 to 10 m yr1 in the northern
forest-tundra ecotone (Kharuk et al., 2006). Shrub expansion in arctic
tundra has also been observed (Blok et al., 2011; Myers-Smith et al.,
2011; see Section 28.2.3.1). Soil moisture and light are the main factors
governing the forest-steppe ecotone (Soja et al., 2007; Zeng et al., 2008;
Eichler et al., 2011; Kukavskaya et al., 2013), and Mongolian taiga
forests have responded heterogeneously to recent climate changes, but

24.4.2.2. Observed Impacts

Satellite NDVI for Asia for 19882010 shows a general greening trend
(i.e., increasing NDVI, a rough proxy for increasing plant growth), except
where water is limiting (Dorigo et al., 2012). Changes at high latitudes

1339

24

Chapter 24

declines in larch growth and regeneration are more widespread than


increases (Dulamsuren et al., 2010a,b).

24.4.2.2.3. Permafrost
Permafrost degradation, including reduced area and increased active
layer thickness, has been reported from parts of Siberia, Central Asia,
and the Tibetan Plateau (high confidence; Romanovsky et al., 2010; Wu
and Zhang, 2010; Zhao et al., 2010; Yang et al., 2013). Most permafrost
observatories in Asian Russia show substantial warming of permafrost
during the last 20 to 30 years (Romanovsky et al., 2008, 2010). Permafrost
formed during the Little Ice Age is thawing at many locations and Late
Holocene permafrost has begun to thaw at some undisturbed locations
in northwest Siberia. Permafrost thawing is most noticeable within the
discontinuous permafrost zone, while continuous permafrost is starting
to thaw in a few places, so the boundary between continuous and
discontinuous permafrost is moving northward (Romanovsky et al.,
2008, 2010).

24

Thawing permafrost may lead to increasing emissions of greenhouse


gases from decomposition of accumulated organic matter (see Sections
4.3.3.4, 19.6.3.5). In Mongolia, mean annual permafrost temperature
at 10 to 15 m depth increased over the past 10 to 40 years in the
Hovsgol, Hangai, and Hentei Mountain regions. Permafrost warming
during the past 15 to 20 years was greater than during the previous 15
to 20 years (Sharkhuu et al., 2008; Zhao et al., 2010). In the Kazakh part
of the Tien Shan Mountains, permafrost temperature and active layer
thickness have increased since the early 1970s. Significant permafrost
warming also occurred in the eastern Tien Shan Mountains, in the
headwaters of the Urumqi River (Marchenko et al., 2007; Zhao et al.,
2010). Monitoring across the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau over recent decades
has also revealed permafrost degradation caused by warming and other
impacts. Areas of permafrost are shrinking, the active layer depth is
increasing, the lower altitudinal limit is rising, and the seasonal frost
depth is thinning (Li et al., 2008; Wu and Zhang, 2010; Zhao et al., 2010).
In the alpine headwater regions of the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers, rising
temperatures and permafrost degradation have resulted in lower lake
levels, drying swamps, and shrinking grasslands (Cheng and Wu, 2007;
Wang et al., 2011).

24.4.2.3. Projected Impacts


24.4.2.3.1. Phenology and growth rates
Trends toward an earlier spring greening and longer growing season
are expected to continue in humid temperate and boreal forest areas,
although photoperiod or chilling requirements may reduce responses
to warming in some species (Ge et al., 2013; Hadano et al., 2013;
Richardson et al., 2013). Changes in precipitation will be important for
semiarid and arid ecosystems, as may the direct impacts of atmospheric
carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations, making responses harder to predict
(Liancourt et al., 2012; Poulter et al., 2013). The general flowering at
multi-year intervals in lowland rainforests in Southeast Asia is triggered
by irregular droughts (Sakai et al., 2006), so changes in drought frequency
or intensity could have large impacts.
1340

Asia

24.4.2.3.2. Distributions of species and biomes


Climate change is expected to modify the vegetation distribution across
the region (Tao and Zhang, 2010; Wang, 2013), but responses will be
slowed by limitations on seed dispersal, competition from established
plants, rates of soil development, and habitat fragmentation (high
confidence; Corlett and Westcott, 2013). Rising CO2 concentrations are
expected to favor increased woody vegetation in semiarid areas
(medium confidence; Higgins and Scheiter, 2012; Donohue et al., 2013;
Poulter et al., 2013; Wang, 2013). In North Asia, rising temperatures are
expected to lead to large changes in the distribution of potential natural
ecosystems (high confidence; Ni, 2011; Tchebakova et al., 2011; Insarov
et al., 2012; Pearson et al., 2013). It is likely that the boreal forest will
expand northward and eastward, and that tundra will decrease,
although differences in models, time periods, and other assumptions
have resulted in widely varying projections for the magnitude of this
change (Woodward and Lomas, 2004; Kaplan and New, 2006; Lucht et
al., 2006; Golubyatnikov and Denisenko, 2007; Sitch et al., 2008;
Korzukhin and Tcelniker, 2010; Tchebakova et al., 2010, 2011; Pearson
et al., 2013). Boreal forest expansion and the continued invasion of the
existing larch-dominated forest by DNCs could lead to larch reaching
the Arctic shore, while the traditional area of larch dominance turns into
mixed forest (Kharuk et al., 2006, 2010c). Both the replacement of
summer-green larch with evergreen conifers and expansion of trees and
shrubs into tundra decrease albedo, causing regional warming and
potentially accelerating vegetation change (Kharuk et al., 2006, 2010d;
McGuire et al., 2007; Pearson et al., 2013). The future direction and rate
of change of steppe vegetation are unclear because of uncertain
precipitation trends (Golubyatnikov and Denisenko, 2007; Tchebakova
et al., 2010). The role of CO2 fertilization is also potentially important
here (Poulter et al., 2013; see WGI AR5 Box 6.3).
In East Asia, subtropical evergreen forests are projected to expand north
into the deciduous forest and tropical forests to expand along Chinas
southern coast (Choi et al., 2011; Wang, 2013), but vegetation change
may lag climate change by decades or centuries (Corlett and Westcott,
2013). On the Tibetan Plateau, projections suggest that alpine vegetation
will be largely replaced by forest and shrubland, with tundra and steppe
retreating to the north (Liang et al., 2012; Wang, 2013). Impacts in
Central and West Asia will depend on changes in precipitation. In
India, a dynamic vegetation model (A2 and B2 scenarios) projected
changes in more than a third of the forest area by 2100, mostly from
deciduous to evergreen forest in response to increasing rainfall,
although fragmentation and other human pressures are expected to
slow these changes (Chaturvedi et al., 2011). By 2100, large areas of
tropical and subtropical lowland Asia are projected to experience
combinations of temperature and rainfall outside the current global range,
under a variety of model projections and emission scenarios (Williams
et al., 2007; Beaumont et al., 2010; Garca-Lpez and Allu, 2013), but
the potential impacts of these novel conditions on biodiversity are
largely unknown (Corlett, 2011).
In Southeast Asia, projected climate (A2 and B1 scenarios) and vegetation
changes are expected to produce widespread declines in bat species
richness, northward range shifts for many species, and large reductions
in the distributions of most species (Hughes et al., 2012). Projections
for various bird species in Asia under a range of scenarios also suggest

Asia

major impacts on distributions (Menon et al., 2009; Li, R. et al., 2010;


Ko et al., 2012). Projections for butterflies in Thailand (A2 and B2
scenarios) suggest that species richness within protected areas will
decline approximately 30% by 20702099 (Klorvuttimontara et al.,
2011). Projections for dominant bamboos in the Qinling Mountains (A2
and B2 scenarios) suggest substantial range reductions by 2100, with
potentially adverse consequences for the giant pandas that eat
them (Tuanmu et al., 2012). Projections for snow leopard habitat in the
Himalayas (B1, A1B, and A2 scenarios) suggest contraction by up to
30% as forests replace open habitats (Forrest et al., 2012).

24.4.2.3.3. Permafrost
In the Northern Hemisphere, a 20 to 90% decrease in permafrost area
and a 50 to 300 cm increase in active layer thickness driven by surface
warming is projected for 2100 by different models and scenarios
(Schaefer et al., 2011). It is likely that permafrost degradation in North
Asia will spread from the southern and low-altitude margins, advancing
northward and upward, but rates of change vary greatly between model
projections (Cheng and Wu, 2007; Riseborough et al., 2008; Romanovsky
et al., 2008; Anisimov, 2009; Eliseev et al., 2009; Nadyozhina et al., 2010;
Schaefer et al., 2011; Wei et al., 2011). Substantial retreat is also expected
on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (Cheng and Wu, 2007). Near-surface
permafrost is expected to remain only in Central and Eastern Siberia
and parts of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in the late-21st century.

Chapter 24

et al., 2011; Jump et al., 2012; Tanaka, N. et al., 2012; Davydov et al.,
2013). Many freshwater habitats are similarly isolated and their
restricted-range species may be equally vulnerable (Dudgeon, 2012). In
flatter topography, higher velocities of climate change (the speeds that
species need to move to maintain constant climate conditions) increase
the vulnerabilities of species that are unable to keep pace, as a result
of limited dispersal ability, habitat fragmentation, or other non-climatic
constraints (Corlett and Westcott, 2013). In the tropics, temperature
extremes above the present range are a potential threat to organisms
and ecosystems (Corlett, 2011; Jevanandam et al., 2013; Mumby et al.,
2013). For much of interior Asia, increases in drought stress, as a result
of declining rainfall and/or rising temperatures, are the key concern.
Because aridity is projected to increase in the northern Mongolian forest
belt during the 21st century (Sato et al., 2007), larch cover will likely be
reduced (Dulamsuren et al., 2010a). In the boreal forest region, a longer,
warmer growing season will increase vulnerability to fires, although
other human influences may overshadow climate impacts in accessible
areas (Flannigan et al., 2009; Liu et al., 2012; Li et al., 2013; see Section
4.3.3.1.1). If droughts intensify in lowland Southeast Asia, the synergies
between warmth, drought, logging, fragmentation, and fire (Daniau et
al., 2012) and tree mortality (Kumagai and Porporato, 2012; Tan et al.,
2013), possibly acerbated by feedbacks between deforestation, smoke
aerosols, and reduced rainfall (Arago, 2012; Tosca et al., 2012), could
greatly increase the vulnerability of fragmented forest landscapes (high
confidence).

24.4.2.5. Adaptation Options


24.4.2.3.4. Inland waters
Climate change impacts on inland waters will interact with dam
construction, pollution, and land use changes (Vrsmarty et al., 2010;
see also Sections 3.3.2, 24.9.1). Increases in water temperature will
impact species- and temperature-dependent processes (Hamilton, 2010;
Dudgeon, 2011, 2012). Coldwater fish will be threatened as rising water
temperatures make much of their current habitat unsuitable (Yu, D. et
al., 2013). Climate change is also expected to change flow regimes in
running waters and consequently impact habitats and species that are
sensitive to droughts and floods (see Box CC-RF). Habitats that depend
on seasonal inundation, including floodplain grasslands and freshwater
swamp forests, will be particularly vulnerable (Maxwell, 2009; Bezuijen,
2011; Arias et al., 2012). Reduced dry season flows are expected to
combine with sea level rise to increase saltwater intrusion in deltas
(Hamilton, 2010; Dudgeon, 2012), although non-climatic impacts will
continue to dominate in most estuaries (Syvitski et al., 2009). For most
Asian lakes, it is difficult to disentangle the impacts of water pollution,
hydro-engineering, and climate change (Battarbee et al., 2012).

Suggested strategies for maximizing the adaptive capacity of ecosystems


include reducing non-climate impacts, maximizing landscape connectivity,
and protecting refugia where climate change is expected to be less than
the regional mean (Hannah, 2010; Game et al., 2011; Klorvuttimontara
et al., 2011; Murthy et al., 2011; Ren et al., 2011; Shoo et al., 2011;
Mandych et al., 2012). Additional options for inland waters include
operating dams to maintain environmental flows for biodiversity,
protecting catchments, and preserving river floodplains (Vrsmarty et
al., 2010). Habitat restoration may facilitate species movements across
climatic gradients (Klorvuttimontara et al., 2011; Hughes et al., 2012) and
long-distance seed dispersal agents may need protection (McConkey et
al., 2012). Assisted migration of genotypes and species is possible where
movements are constrained by poor dispersal, but risks and benefits
need to be considered carefully (Liu et al., 2010; Olden et al., 2010;
Tchebakova et al., 2011; Dudgeon, 2012; Ishizuka and Goto, 2012;
Corlett and Westcott, 2013). Ex situ conservation can provide backup
for populations and species most at risk from climate change (Chen et
al., 2009).

24.4.2.4. Vulnerabilities to Key Drivers

24.4.3. Coastal Systems and Low-Lying Areas

Permafrost melting in response to warming is expected to impact


ecosystems across large areas (high confidence; Cheng and Wu, 2007;
Tchebakova et al., 2011). The biodiversity of isolated mountains may also
be particularly vulnerable to warming, because many species already
have small geographical ranges that will shrink further (La Sorte and
Jetz, 2010; Liu et al., 2010; Chou et al., 2011; Noroozi et al., 2011; Peh

24.4.3.1. Sub-regional Diversity


Asias coastline includes the global range of shore types. Tropical and
subtropical coasts support approximately 45% of the worlds mangrove
forest (Giri et al., 2011) and low-lying areas in equatorial Southeast Asia
support most of the worlds peat swamp forests, as well as other
1341

24

Chapter 24

forested swamp types. Intertidal salt marshes are widespread along


temperate and arctic coasts, while a variety of non-forested wetlands
occur inland. Asia supports approximately 40% of the worlds coral reef
area, mostly in Southeast Asia, with the worlds most diverse reef
communities in the coral triangle (Spalding et al., 2001; Burke et al.,
2011). Seagrass beds are widespread and support most of the worlds
seagrass species (Green and Short, 2003). Six of the seven species of
sea turtle are found in the region and five nest on Asian beaches
(Spotila, 2004). Kelp forests and other seaweed beds are important on
temperate coasts (Bolton, 2010; Nagai et al., 2011). Arctic sea ice
supports a specialized community of mammals and other organisms
(see Sections 28.2.3.3-4.).

24.4.3.2. Observed Impacts

24

Most of Asias non-Arctic coastal ecosystems are under such severe


pressure from non-climate impacts that climate impacts are hard to
detect (see Section 5.4.2). Most large deltas in Asia are sinking (as a
result of groundwater withdrawal, floodplain engineering, and trapping
of sediments by dams) much faster than global sea level is rising (Syvitski
et al., 2009). Widespread impacts can be attributed to climate change
only for coral reefs, where the temporal and spatial patterns of bleaching
correlate with higher than normal sea surface temperatures (very high
confidence; Section 5.4.2.4; Box CC-CR). Increased water temperatures
may also explain declines in large seaweed beds in temperate Japan
(Nagai et al., 2011; Section 5.4.2.3). Warming coastal waters have also
been implicated in the northward expansion of tropical and subtropical
macroalgae and toxic phytoplankton (Nagai et al., 2011), fish (Tian et
al., 2012), and tropical corals, including key reef-forming species (Yamano
et al., 2011), over recent decades. The decline of large temperate
seaweeds and expansion of tropical species in southwest Japan has
been linked to rising sea surface temperatures (Tanaka, K. et al., 2012),
and these changes have impacted fish communities (Terazono et al.,
2012).
In Arctic Asia, changes in permafrost and the effects of sea level rise
and sea ice retreat on storm-wave energy have increased erosion (Are
et al., 2008; Razumov, 2010; Handmer et al., 2012). Average erosion
rates range from 0.27 m yr1 (Chukchi Sea) to 0.87 m yr1 (East Siberian
Sea), with a number of segments in the Laptev and East Siberian Sea
experiencing rates greater than 3 m yr1 (Lantuit et al., 2012).

Asia

Continuation of current trends in sea surface temperatures and ocean


acidification would result in large declines in coral-dominated reefs by
mid-century (high confidence; Burke et al., 2011; Hoegh-Guldberg, 2011;
see Section 5.4.2.4; Box CC-CR). Warming would permit the expansion
of coral habitats to the north but acidification is expected to limit this
(Yara et al., 2012). Acidification is also expected to have negative
impacts on other calcified marine organisms (algae, molluscs, larval
echinoderms), while impacts on non-calcified species are unclear
(Branch et al., 2013; Kroeker et al., 2013; see Box CC-OA). On rocky
shores, warming and acidification are expected to lead to range shifts
and changes in biodiversity (see Section 5.4.2.2).
Future rates of sea level rise are expected to exceed those of recent
decades (see WGI AR5 Section 13.5.1), increasing coastal flooding,
erosion, and saltwater intrusion into surface and groundwaters. In the
absence of other impacts, coral reefs may grow fast enough to keep up
with rising sea levels (Brown et al., 2011; Villanoy et al., 2012; see
Section 5.4.2.4), but beaches may erode and mangroves, salt marshes,
and seagrass beds will decline, unless they receive sufficient fresh
sediment to keep pace or they can move inland (Gilman et al., 2008;
Bezuijen, 2011; Kintisch, 2013; see Section 5.3.2.3). Loucks et al. (2010)
predict a 96% decline in tiger habitat in Bangladeshs Sunderbans
mangroves with a 28 cm sea level rise if sedimentation does not increase
surface elevations. Rising winter temperatures are expected to result in
poleward expansion of mangrove ecosystems (see Section 5.4.2.3).
Coastal freshwater wetlands may be vulnerable to saltwater intrusion
with rising sea levels, but in most river deltas local subsidence for nonclimatic reasons will be more important (Syvitski et al., 2009). Current
trends in cyclone frequency and intensity are unclear (Section 24.3.2;
Box CC-TC), but a combination of cyclone intensification and sea level
rise could increase coastal flooding (Knutson et al., 2010) and losses of
coral reefs and mangrove forests would exacerbate wave damage
(Gedan et al., 2011; Villanoy et al., 2012).
In the Asian Arctic, rates of coastal erosion are expected to increase
as a result of interactions between rising sea levels and changes in
permafrost and the length of the ice-free season (medium evidence;
high agreement; Pavlidis et al., 2007; Lantuit et al., 2012). The largest
changes are expected for coasts composed of loose permafrost rocks
and therefore subject to intensive thermal abrasion. If sea level rises
by 0.5 m over this century, modeling studies predict that the rate of
recession will increase 1.5- to 2.6-fold for the coasts of the Laptev Sea,
East Siberian Sea, and West Yamal in the Kara Sea, compared to the
rate observed in the first years of the 21st century.

24.4.3.3. Projected Impacts


Marine biodiversity at temperate latitudes is expected to increase as
temperature constraints on warmwater taxa are relaxed (high confidence;
see Section 6.4.1.1), but biodiversity in tropical regions may fall if, as
evidence suggests, tropical species are already near their thermal maxima
(medium confidence; Cheung et al., 2009, 2010; Nguyen et al., 2011).
Individual fish species are projected to shift their ranges northward in
response to rising sea surface temperatures (Tseng et al., 2011; Okunishi
et al., 2012; Tian et al., 2012). The combined effects of changes in
distribution, abundance, and physiology may reduce the body size of
marine fishes, particularly in the tropics and intermediate latitudes
(Cheung et al., 2013).
1342

24.4.3.4. Vulnerabilities to Key Drivers


Offshore marine systems are most vulnerable to rising water temperatures
and ocean acidification, particularly for calcifying organisms such as
corals. Sea level rise will be the key issue for many coastal areas,
particularly if combined with changes in cyclone frequency or intensity,
or, in Arctic Asia, with a lengthening open-water season. The expected
continuing decline in the extent of sea ice in the Arctic may threaten
the survival of some ice-associated organisms (see Section 28.2.2.1),
with expanded human activities in previously inaccessible areas an
additional concern (Post et al., 2013).

Asia

24.4.3.5. Adaptation Options


The connectivity of marine habitats and dispersal abilities of marine
organisms increase the capacity for autonomous (spontaneous) adaptation
in coastal systems (Cheung et al., 2009). Creating marine protected
areas where sea surface temperatures are projected to change least
may increase their future resilience (Levy and Ban, 2013). For coral reefs,
potential indicators of future resilience include later projected onset of
annual bleaching conditions (van Hooidonk et al., 2013), past temperature
variability, the abundance of heat-tolerant coral species, coral recruitment
rates, connectivity, and macroalgae abundance (McClanahan et al.,
2012). Similar strategies may help identify reefs that are more resilient
to acidification (McLeod et al., 2013). Hard coastal defenses, such as
sea walls, protect settlements at the cost of preventing adjustments
by mangroves, salt marshes, and seagrass beds to rising sea levels.
Landward buffer zones that provide an opportunity for future inland
migration could mitigate this problem (Tobey et al., 2010). More
generally, maintaining or restoring natural shorelines where possible is
expected to provide coastal protection and other benefits (Tobey et al.,
2010; Crooks et al., 2011). Projected increases in the navigability of the
Arctic Ocean because of declining sea ice suggest the need for a revision
of environmental regulations to minimize the risk of marine pollution
(Smith and Stephenson, 2013).

24.4.4. Food Production Systems and Food Security


It is projected that climate change will affect food security by the middle
of the 21st century, with the largest numbers of food-insecure people
located in South Asia (see Chapter 7).

24.4.4.1. Sub-regional Diversity


WGII AR4 Section 10.4.1.1 pointed out that there will be regional
differences within Asia in the impacts of climate change on food
production. Research since then has validated this divergence and new
data are available especially for West and Central Asia (see Tables
SM24-4, SM24-5). In WGII AR4 Section 10.4.1, climate change was
projected to lead mainly to reductions in crop yield. New research shows
there will also be gains for specific regions and crops in given areas.
Thus, the current assessment encompasses an enormous variability,
depending on the regions and the crops grown.

24.4.4.2. Observed Impacts


There are very limited data globally for observed impacts of climate
change on food production systems (see Chapter 7) and this is true also
for Asia. In Jordan, it was reported that the total production and average
yield for wheat and barley were lowest in 1999 for the period 1996
2006 (Al-Bakri et al., 2010), which could be explained by the low rainfall
during that year, which was 30% of the average (high confidence in
detection, low confidence in attribution). In China, rice yield responses
to recent climate change at experimental stations were assessed for
the period 19812005 (Zhang et al., 2010). In some places, yields were
positively correlated with temperature when they were also positively

Chapter 24

related with solar radiation. However, in other places, lower yield with
higher temperature was accompanied by a positive correlation between
yield and rainfall (high confidence in detection, high confidence in
attribution). In Japan, where mean air temperature rose by about 1C
over the 20th century, effects of recent warming include phenological
changes in many crops, increases in fruit coloring disorders and incidences
of chalky rice kernels, reductions in yields of wheat, barley, vegetables,
flowers, milk, and eggs, and alterations in the type of disease and pest
(high confidence in detection, high confidence in attribution; Sugiura et
al., 2012).

24.4.4.3. Projected Impacts


24.4.4.3.1. Production
WGII AR4 Section 10.4.1.1 mainly dealt with cereal crops (rice, wheat,
corn). Since then, impacts of climate change have been modeled for
additional cereal crops and sub-regions. It is very likely that climate
change effects on crop production in Asia will be variable, negative for
specific regions and crops in given areas and positive for other regions
and crops (medium evidence, high agreement). It is also likely that an
elevated CO2 concentration in the atmosphere will be beneficial to most
crops (medium evidence, high agreement).
In semiarid areas, rainfed agriculture is sensitive to climate change both
positively and negatively (Ratnakumar et al., 2011). In the mountainous
Swat and Chitral districts of Pakistan (average altitudes 960 and 1500 m
above sea level, respectively), there were mixed results as well (Hussain
and Mudasser, 2007). Projected temperature increases of 1.5C and 3C
would lead to wheat yield declines (by 7% and 24%, respectively) in
Swat district but to increases (by 14% and 23%) in Chitral district. In
India, climate change impacts on sorghum were analyzed using the
InfoCrop-SORGHUM simulation model (Srivastava et al., 2010). A
changing climate was projected to reduce monsoon sorghum grain yield
by 2 to 14% by 2020, with worsening yields by 2050 and 2080. In the
Indo-Gangetic Plains, a large reduction in wheat yields is projected (see
Section 24.4.4.3.2), unless appropriate cultivars and crop management
practices are adopted (Ortiz et al., 2008). A systematic review and metaanalysis of data in 52 original publications projected mean changes in
yield by the 2050s across South Asia of 16% for maize and 11% for
sorghum (Knox et al., 2012). No mean change in yield was projected
for rice.
In China, modeling studies of the impacts of climate change on crop
productivity have had mixed results. Rice is the most important staple
food in Asia. Studies show that climate change will alter productivity
in China but not always negatively. For example, an ensemble-based
probabilistic projection shows rice yield in eastern China would change
on average by 7.5 to 17.5% (10.4 to 3.0%), 0.0 to 25.0% (26.7 to
2.1%), and 10.0 to 25.0% (39.2 to 6.4%) during the 2020s, 2050s,
and 2080s, respectively, in response to climate change, with (without)
consideration of CO2 fertilization effects, using all 10 combinations of
two emission scenarios (A1FI and B1) and five GCMs (Hadley Centre
climate prediction model 3 (HadCM3), Parallel Climate Model (PCM),
CGCM2, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
2 (CSIRO2), and European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts
1343

24

Chapter 24

Asia

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ 24.2 | How will climate change affect food production and food security in Asia?
Climate change impacts on temperature and precipitation will affect food production and food security in various
ways in specific areas throughout this diverse region. Climate change will have a generally negative impact on crop
production Asia, but with diverse possible outcomes (medium confidence). For example most simulation models
show that higher temperatures will lead to lower rice yields as a result of a shorter growing period. But some studies
indicate that increased atmospheric CO2 that leads to those higher temperatures could enhance photosynthesis
and increase rice yields. This uncertainty on the overall effects of climate change and CO2 fertilization is generally
true for other important food crops such as wheat, sorghum, barley, and maize, among others.
Yields of some crops will increase in some areas (e.g., cereal production in north and east Kazakhstan) and decrease
in others (e.g., wheat in the Indo-Gangetic Plain of South Asia). In Russia, climate change may lead to a food
production shortfall, defined as an event in which the annual potential production of the most important crops
falls 50% or more below its normal average. Sea level rise is projected to decrease total arable areas and thus food
supply in many parts of Asia. A diverse mix of potential adaptation strategies, such as crop breeding, changing crop
varieties, adjusting planting time, water management, diversification of crops, and a host of indigenous practices
will all be applicable within local contexts.

24

and Hamburg 4 (ECHAM4)) relative to 19611990 levels (Tao and Zhang,


2013a). With rising temperatures, the process of rice development
accelerates and reduces the duration for growth. Wassmann et al.
(2009a,b) concluded that, in terms of risks of increasing heat stress,
there are parts of Asia where current temperatures are already
approaching critical levels during the susceptible stages of the rice
plant. These include Pakistan/North India (October), South India (April/
August), East India/Bangladesh (March-June), Myanmar/Thailand/Laos/
Cambodia (March-June), Vietnam (April/August), Philippines (April/June),
Indonesia (August), and China (July/August).
There have also been simulation studies for other crops in China. In
the Huang-Hai Plain, Chinas most productive wheat growing region,
modeling indicated that winter wheat yields would increase on average
by 0.2 Mg ha1 in 20152045 and by 0.8 Mg ha1 in 20702099, due
to warmer nighttime temperatures and higher precipitation, under A2
and B2 scenarios using the HadCM3 model (Thomson et al., 2006). In
the North China Plain, an ensemble-based probabilistic projection
projected that maize yield will change by 9.7 to 9.1%, 19.0 to
15.7%, and 25.5 to 24.7%, during 2020s, 2050s, and 2080s as a
percentage of 19611990 yields (Tao et al., 2009). In contrast, winter
wheat yields could increase with high probability in future due to
climate change (Tao and Zhang, 2013b).
It should be noted that crop physiology simulation models may
overstate the impact of CO2 fertilization. Free Atmosphere Carbon
Exchange (FACE) experiments show that measurable CO2 fertilization
effects are typically less than modeled results (see Section 7.3).
Extreme weather events are also expected to negatively affect agricultural
crop production (IPCC, 2012). For example, extreme temperatures could
lower yields of rice (Mohammed and Tarpley, 2009; Tian et al., 2010).
With higher precipitation, flooding could also lead to lower crop
production (see SREX Chapter 4).
1344

24.4.4.3.2. Farming systems and crop areas


Since the release of the AR4 (see WGII AR4 Section 10.4.1.2), more
information is available on the impacts of climate change on farming
systems and cropping areas in more countries in Asia and especially in
Central Asia. Recent studies validate the likely northward shifts of crop
production with current croplands under threat from the impacts of
climate change (medium evidence, medium agreement). Cooler regions
are likely to benefit as warmer temperatures increase arable areas
(medium evidence, high agreement).
Central Asia is expected to become warmer in the coming decades
and increasingly arid, especially in the western parts of Turkmenistan,
Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan (Lioubimtseva and Henebry, 2009). Some
parts of the region could be winners (cereal production in northern and
eastern Kazakhstan could benefit from the longer growing season,
warmer winters, and a slight increase in winter precipitation), while others
could be losers (particularly western Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, where
frequent droughts could negatively affect cotton production, increase
already extremely high water demands for irrigation, and exacerbate
the already existing water crisis and human-induced desertification). In
India, the Indo-Gangetic Plains are under threat of a significant reduction
in wheat yields (Ortiz et al., 2008). This area produces 90 million tons
of wheat grain annually (about 14 to 15% of global wheat production).
Climate projections based on a doubling of CO2 using a CCM3 model
downscaled to a 30 arc-second resolution as part of the WorldClim data
set showed that there will be a 51% decrease in the most favorable
and high yielding area due to heat stress. About 200 million people
(using the current population) in this area whose food intake relies on
crop harvests would experience adverse impacts.
Rice growing areas are also expected to shift with climate change
throughout Asia. In Japan, increasing irrigation water temperature
(1.6C to 2.0C) could lead to a northward shift of the isochrones of

Asia

safe transplanting dates for rice seedlings (Ohta and Kimura, 2007). As
a result, rice cultivation period will be prolonged by approximately 25
to 30 days. This will allow greater flexibility in the cropping season than
at present, resulting in a reduction in the frequency of cool-summer
damage in the northern districts. Sea level rise threatens coastal and
deltaic rice production areas in Asia, such as those in Bangladesh and
the Mekong River Delta (Wassmann et al., 2009b). For example, about
7% of Vietnams agriculture land may be submerged due to 1-m sea
level rise (Dasgupta et al., 2009). In Myanmar, saltwater intrusion due
to sea level rise could also decrease rice yield (Wassmann et al., 2009b).

24.4.4.3.3. Fisheries and aquaculture


Asia dominates both capture fisheries and aquaculture (FAO, 2010).
More than half of the global marine fish catch in 2008 was in the West
Pacific and Indian Ocean, and the lower Mekong River basin supports
the largest freshwater capture fishery in the world (Dudgeon, 2011).
Fish production is also a vital component of regional livelihoods, with
85.5% of the worlds fishers (28 m) and fish farmers (10 m) in Asia in
2008. Many more people fish part time. Fish catches in the Asian Arctic
are relatively small, but important for local cultures and regional food
security (Zeller et al., 2011).
Inland fisheries will continue to be vulnerable to a wide range of ongoing
threats, including overfishing, habitat loss, water abstraction, drainage
of wetlands, pollution, and dam construction, making the impacts of
climate change hard to detect (see also Section 24.9.1). Most concerns
have centered on rising water temperatures and the potential impacts
of climate change on flow regimes, which in turn are expected to affect
the reproduction of many fish species (Allison et al., 2009; Barange and
Perry, 2009; Bezuijen, 2011; Dudgeon, 2011; see also Section 24.4.2.3).
Sea level rise is expected to impact both capture fisheries and aquaculture
production in river deltas (De Silva and Soto, 2009). For marine capture
fisheries, Cheung et al. (2009, 2010) used a dynamic bioclimate envelope
model to project the distributions of 1066 species of exploited marine
fish and invertebrates for 20052055, based on the SRES A1B scenario
and a stable-2000 CO2 scenario. This analysis suggests that climate
change may lead to a massive redistribution of fisheries catch potential,
with large increases in high-latitude regions, including Asian Russia,
and large declines in the tropics, particularly Indonesia. Other studies
have made generally similar predictions, with climate change impacts
on marine productivity expected to be large and negative in the tropics,
in part because of the vulnerability of coral reefs to both warming and
ocean acidification (see also Section 24.4.3.3), and large and positive
in Arctic and sub-Arctic regions, because of sea ice retreat and poleward
species shifts (high confidence; Sumaila et al., 2011; Blanchard et al., 2012;
Doney et al., 2012). Predictions of a reduction in the average maximum
body weight of marine fishes by 14 to 24% by 2050 under a high-emission
scenario are an additional threat to fisheries (Cheung et al., 2013).

24.4.4.3.4. Future food supply and demand


WGII AR4 Section 10.4.1.4 was largely based on global models that
included Asia. There are now a few quantitative studies in Asia and its
individual countries. In general, these show that the risk of hunger, food

Chapter 24

insecurity, and loss of livelihood due to climate change will likely


increase in some regions (low evidence, medium agreement).
Rice is a key staple crop in Asia and 90% or more of the worlds rice
production is from Asia. An Asia-wide study revealed that climate
change scenarios (using 18 GCMs for A1B, 14 GCMs for A2, and 17 GCMs
for B1) would reduce rice yield over a large portion of the continent
(Masutomi et al., 2009). The most vulnerable regions were western
Japan, eastern China, the southern part of the Indochina peninsula, and
the northern part of South Asia. In Russia, climate change may also lead
to food production shortfall, which was defined as an event in which
the annual potential (i.e., climate-related) production of the most
important crops in an administrative region in a specific year falls below
50% of its climate-normal (19611990) average (Alcamo et al., 2007).
The study shows that the frequency of shortfalls in five or more of the
main crop growing regions in the same year is around 2 years per
decade under normal climate but could climb to 5 to 6 years per decade
in the 2070s, depending on the scenario and climate model (using
the GLASS, Global Agro-Ecological Zones (GAEZ), and Water-Global
Assessment and Prognosis (WaterGAP-2) models and ECHAM and
HadCM3 under the A2 and B2 scenarios). The increasing shortfalls were
attributed to severe droughts. The study estimated that the number of
people living in regions that may experience one or more shortfalls
each decade may grow to 82 to 139 million in the 2070s. Increasing
frequency of extreme climate events will pose an increasing threat to
the security of Russias food system.
In contrast, climate change may provide a windfall for wheat farmers
in parts of Pakistan. Warming temperatures would make it possible to
grow at least two crops (wheat and maize) a year in mountainous areas
(Hussain and Mudasser, 2007). In the northern mountainous areas,
wheat yield was projected to increase by 50% under SRES A2 and by
40% under the B2 scenario, whereas in the sub-mountainous, semiarid,
and arid areas, it is likely to decrease by the 2080s (Iqbal et al., 2009).

24.4.4.4. Vulnerabilities to Key Drivers


Food production and food security are most vulnerable to rising air
temperatures (Wassmann et al., 2009a,b). Warmer temperatures could
depress yields of major crops such as rice. However, warmer temperatures
could also make some areas more favorable for food production
(Lioubimtseva and Henebry, 2009). Increasing CO2 concentration in the
atmosphere could lead to higher crop yields (Tao and Zhang, 2013a). Sea
level rise will be a key issue for many coastal areas as rich agricultural
lands may be submerged and taken out of production (Wassmann et
al., 2009b).

24.4.4.5. Adaptation Options


Since AR4, there have been additional studies of recommended and
potential adaptation strategies and practices in Asia (Table SM24-7)
and there is new information for West and Central Asia. There are
also many more crop-specific and country-specific adaptation options
available. Farmers have been adapting to climate risks for generations.
Indigenous and local adaptation strategies have been documented for
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Chapter 24

Southeast Asia (Peras et al., 2008; Lasco et al., 2010, 2011) and could
be used as a basis for future climate change adaptation. Crop breeding
for high temperature conditions is a promising option for climate change
adaptation in Asia. For example, in the North China Plain, simulation
studies show that using high-temperature sensitive varieties, maize yield
in the 2050s could increase on average by 1.0 to 6.0%, 9.9 to 15.2%, and
4.1 to 5.6%, by adopting adaptation options of early planting, xing variety
growing duration, and late planting, respectively (Tao and Zhang, 2010).
In contrast, no adaptation will result in yield declines of 13.2 to 19.1%.

24.4.5. Human Settlements, Industry, and Infrastructure


24.4.5.1. Sub-regional Diversity

24

Around one in every five urban dwellers in Asia lives in large urban
agglomerations and almost 50% of these live in small cities (UN DESA
Population Division, 2012). North and Central Asia are the most urbanized
areas, with more than 63% of the population living in urban areas, with
the exception of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan (UN-HABITAT, 2010; UN ESCAP,
2011). South and Southwest Asia are the least urbanized sub-regions,
with only a third of their populations living in urban areas. However,
these regions have the highest urban population growth rates within Asia,
at an average of 2.4% per year during 20052010 (UN ESCAP, 2011). By
the middle of this century, Asias urban population will increase by 1.4
billion and will account for more than 50% of the global population
(UN DESA Population Division, 2012).

24.4.5.2. Observed Impacts


Asia experienced the highest number of weather- and climate-related
disasters in the world during the period 20002008 and suffered huge
economic losses, accounting for the second highest proportion (27.5%)
of the total global economic loss (IPCC, 2012). Flood mortality risk is
heavily concentrated in Asia. Severe floods in Mumbai in 2005 have
been attributed to both climatic factors and non-climatic factors.
Strengthened capacities to address the mortality risk associated with
major weather-related hazards, such as floods, have resulted in a
downward trend in mortality risk relative to population size, as in East
Asia, where it is now a third of its 1980 level (UNISDR, 2011).

Asia

2012). Flood risk and associated human and material losses are heavily
concentrated in India, Bangladesh, and China. At the same time, the
East Asia region in particular is experiencing increasing water shortages,
negatively affecting its socioeconomic, agricultural, and environmental
conditions, which is attributed to lack of rains and high evapotranspiration,
as well as over-exploitation of water resources (IPCC, 2012). Large parts
of South, East, and Southeast Asia are exposed to a high degree of
cumulative climate-related risk (UN-HABITAT, 2011). Asia has more
than 90% of the global population exposed to tropical cyclones (IPCC,
2012; see Box CC-TC). Damage due to storm surge is sensitive to change
in the magnitude of tropical cyclones. By the 2070s, the top Asian cities
in terms of population exposure (including all environmental and
socioeconomic factors) to coastal flooding are expected to be Kolkata,
Mumbai, Dhaka, Guangzhou, Ho Chi Minh City, Shanghai, Bangkok,
Rangoon, and Hai Phng (Hanson et al., 2011). The top Asian cities in
terms of assets exposed are expected to be Guangzhou, Kolkata,
Shanghai, Mumbai, Tianjin, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Bangkok. Asia
includes 15 of the global top 20 cities for projected population exposure
and 13 of the top 20 for asset exposure.

24.4.5.3.2. Other issues in human settlements


Asia has a largeand rapidly expandingproportion of the global
urban exposure and vulnerability related to climate change hazards (see
SREX Section 4.4.3). In line with the rapid urban growth and sprawl in
many parts of Asia, the periurban interface between urban and rural
areas deserves particular attention when considering climate change
vulnerability (see also Section 18.4.1). Garschagen et al. (2011) find, for
example, that periurban agriculturalists in the Vietnamese Mekong
Delta are facing a multiple burden because they are often exposed to
overlapping risks resulting from (1) socioeconomic transformations,
such as land title insecurity and price pressures; (2) local biophysical
degradation, as periurban areas serve as sinks for urban wastes; and
(3) climate change impacts, as they do not benefit from the innerurban disaster risk management measures. Nevertheless, the periurban
interface is still underemphasized in studies on impacts, vulnerability,
and adaptation in Asia.

A large proportion of Asias population lives in low elevation coastal


zones that are particularly at risk from climate change hazards, including
sea level rise, storm surges, and typhoons (see Sections 5.3.2.1, 8.2.2.5;
Box CC-TC). Depending on region, half to two-thirds of Asias cities with
1 million or more inhabitants are exposed to one or multiple hazards, with
floods and cyclones most important (UN DESA Population Division, 2012).

Groundwater sources, which are affordable means of high-quality water


supply in cities of developing countries, are threatened due to overwithdrawals. Aquifer levels have fallen by 20 to 50 m in cities such as
Bangkok, Manila, and Tianjin and between 10 and 20 m in many other
cities (UNESCO, 2012). The drop in groundwater levels often results in
land subsidence, which can enhance hazard exposure due to coastal
inundation and sea level rise, especially in settlements near the coast,
and deterioration of groundwater quality. Cities susceptible to humaninduced subsidence (developing country cities in deltaic regions with
rapidly growing populations) could see significant increases in exposure
(Nicholls et al., 2008). Settlements on unstable slopes or landslide-prone
areas face increased prospects of rainfall-induced landslides (IPCC, 2012).

24.4.5.3.1. Floodplains and coastal areas

24.4.5.3.3. Industry and infrastructure

Three of the worlds five most populated cities (Tokyo, Delhi, and Shanghai)
are located in areas with high risk of floods (UN DESA Population Division,

The impacts of climate change on industry include both direct impacts


on industrial production and indirect impacts on industrial enterprises

24.4.5.3. Projected Impacts

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Asia

Chapter 24

due to the implementation of mitigation activities (Li, 2008). The impact


of climate change on infrastructure deterioration cannot be ignored,
but can be addressed by changes to design procedures, including
increases in cover thickness, improved quality of concrete, and coatings
and barriers (Stewart et al., 2012). Climate change and extreme events
may have a greater impact on large and medium-sized construction
projects (Kim et al., 2007).
Estimates suggest that, by upgrading the drainage system in Mumbai,
losses associated with a 1-in-100 year flood event today could be
reduced by as much as 70% and, through extending insurance to 100%
penetration, the indirect effects of flooding could be almost halved,
speeding recovery significantly (Ranger et al., 2011). On the east coast
of India, clusters of districts with poor infrastructure and demographic
development are also the regions of maximum vulnerability. Hence,
extreme events are expected to be more catastrophic in nature for the
people living in these districts. Moreover, the lower the district is in
terms of the infrastructure index and its growth, the more vulnerable it
is to the potential damage from extreme events and hence people living
in these regions are prone to be highly vulnerable (Patnaik and
Narayanan, 2009). In 2008, the embankments on the Kosi River (a
tributary of the Ganges) failed, displacing more than 60,000 people in
Nepal and 3.5 million in India. Transport and power systems were
disrupted across large areas. However, the embankment failure was not
caused by an extreme event but represented a failure of interlinked
physical and institutional infrastructure systems in an area characterized
by complex social, political, and environmental relationships (Moench,
2010).

24.4.5.4. Vulnerabilities to Key Drivers


Disruption of basic services such as water supply, sanitation, energy
provision, and transportation systems have implications for local
economies and strip populations of their assets and livelihoods, in some
cases leading to mass migration (UN-HABITAT, 2010). Such impacts are
not expected to be evenly spread among regions and cities, across
sectors of the economy, or among socioeconomic groups. They tend to
reinforce existing inequalities and disrupt the social fabric of cities and
exacerbate poverty.

24.4.5.5. Adaptation Options


An ADB and UN report estimates that about two-thirds of the $8 trillion
needed for infrastructure investment in Asia and the Pacific between
2010 and 2020 will be in the form of new infrastructure, which creates
tremendous opportunities to design, finance and manage more sustainable
infrastructure (UN ESCAP et al., 2012, p. 18). Adaptation measures that
offer a no regrets solution are proposed for developing countries,
where basic urban infrastructure is often absent (e.g., appropriate
drainage infrastructure), leaving room for actions that both increase
immediate well-being and reduce vulnerability to future climate change
(Hallegatte and Corfee-Morlot, 2011). The role of urban planning and
urban planners in adaptation to climate change impacts has been
emphasized (Fuchs et al., 2011; IPCC, 2012; Tyler and Moench, 2012).
The focus on solely adapting through physical infrastructure in urban
areas requires complementary adaptation planning, management,

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ 24.3 | Who is most at risk from climate change in Asia?


People living in low-lying coastal zones and flood plains are probably most at risk from climate change impacts in
Asia. Half of Asias urban population lives in these areas. Compounding the risk for coastal communities, Asia has
more than 90% of the global population exposed to tropical cyclones. The impact of such storms, even if their
frequency or severity remains the same, is magnified for low-lying and coastal zone communities because of rising
sea level (medium confidence). Vulnerability of many island populations is also increasing due to climate change
impacts. Settlements on unstable slopes or landslide-prone areas, common in some parts of Asia, face increased
likelihood of rainfall-induced landslides.
Asia is predominantly agrarian, with 58% of its population living in rural areas, of which 81% are dependent on
agriculture for their livelihoods. Rural poverty in parts of Asia could be exacerbated due to negative impacts from
climate change on rice production, and a general increase in food prices and the cost of living (high confidence).
Climate change will have widespread and diverse health impacts. More frequent and intense heat waves will
increase mortality and morbidity in vulnerable groups in urban areas (high confidence). The transmission of infectious
disease, such as cholera epidemics in coastal Bangladesh, and schistosomiasis in inland lakes in China, and diarrheal
outbreaks in rural children will be affected as a result of warmer air and water temperatures and altered rain
patterns and water flows (medium confidence). Outbreaks of vaccine-preventable Japanese encephalitis in the
Himalayan region and malaria in India and Nepal have been linked to rainfall. Changes in the geographical
distribution of vector-borne diseases, as vector species that carry and transmit diseases migrate to more hospitable
environments, will occur (medium confidence). These effects will be most noted close to the edges of the current
habitats of these species.

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24

Chapter 24

governance, and institutional arrangements to be able to deal with the


uncertainty and unprecedented challenges implied by climate change
(Revi, 2008; Birkmann et al., 2010; Garschagen and Kraas, 2011).

24.4.6. Human Health, Security, Livelihoods, and Poverty


24.4.6.1. Sub-regional Diversity
Although rapidly urbanizing, Asia is still predominantly an agrarian
society, with 57.28% of its total population living in rural areas, of
which 81.02% are dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods
(FAOSTAT, 2011). Rural poverty is higher than urban poverty, reflecting
the heavy dependence on natural resources that are directly influenced
by changes in weather and climate (Haggblade et al., 2010; IFAD, 2010).
Rural poverty is expected to remain more prevalent than urban poverty
for decades to come (Ravallion et al., 2007). However, climate change
will also affect urbanizing Asia, where the urban poor will be impacted
indirectly, as evident from the food price rises in the Middle East and
other areas in 20072008. Certain categories of urban dwellers, such
as urban wage labor households, are particularly vulnerable (Hertel et
al., 2010).

24

Agriculture has been identified as a key driver of economic growth in


Asia (World Bank, 2007). Although economic growth was impressive in
recent decades, there are still gaps in development compared to the
rest of the world (World Bank, 2011). Southeast Asia is the third poorest
performing region after sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia in terms
of the Human Development Indicators (UN DESA Statistics Division,
2009). Impacts on human security in Asia will manifest primarily
through impacts on water resources, agriculture, coastal areas, resourcedependent livelihoods, and urban settlements and infrastructure, with
implications for human health and well-being. Regional disparities on
account of socioeconomic context and geographical characteristics
largely define the differential vulnerabilities and impacts within countries
in Asia (Thomas, 2008; Sivakumar and Stefanski, 2011).

24.4.6.2. Observed Impacts


24.4.6.2.1. Floods and health
Epidemics have been reported after floods and storms (Bagchi, 2007) as
a result of decreased drinking water quality (Harris et al., 2008; Hashizume
et al., 2008; Solberg, 2010; Kazama et al., 2012), mosquito proliferation
(Pawar et al., 2008), and exposure to rodent-borne pathogens (Kawaguchi
et al., 2008; Zhou et al., 2011) and the intermediate snail hosts of
Schistosoma (Wu et al., 2008).
Contaminated urban flood waters have caused exposure to pathogens
and toxic compounds, for example, in India and Pakistan (Sohan et al.,
2008; Warraich et al., 2011).
Mental disorders and posttraumatic stress syndrome have also been
observed in disaster-prone areas (Udomratn, 2008) and, in India, have
been linked to age and gender (Telles et al., 2009). See also Section
11.4.2 for flood-attributable deaths.
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Asia

24.4.6.2.2. Heat and health


The effects of heat on mortality and morbidity have been studied in many
countries, with a focus on the elderly and people with cardiovascular
and respiratory disorders (Kan et al., 2007; Guo et al., 2009; Huang et
al., 2010). Associations between high temperatures and mortality have
been shown for populations in India and Thailand (McMichael et al.,
2008) and in several cities in East Asia (Kim et al., 2006; Chung et al.,
2009). Several studies have analyzed the health effects of air pollution
in combination with increased temperatures (Lee et al., 2007; Qian et
al., 2010; Wong et al., 2010; Yi et al., 2010). Intense heat waves have
been shown to affect outdoor workers in South Asia (Nag et al., 2007;
Hyatt et al., 2010).

24.4.6.2.3. Drought and health


Dust storms in Southwest, Central, and East Asia result in increased
hospital admissions and worsen asthmatic conditions, as well as causing
skin and eye irritations (Griffin, 2007; Hashizume et al., 2010; Kan et
al., 2012). Droughts may also lead to wildfires and smoke exposure,
with increased morbidity and mortality, as observed in Southeast Asia
(Johnston et al., 2012). Drought can also disrupt food security, increasing
malnutrition (Kumar et al., 2005) and thus susceptibility to infectious
diseases.

24.4.6.2.4. Water-borne diseases


Many pathogens and parasites multiply faster at higher temperatures.
Temperature increases have been correlated with increased incidence
of diarrheal diseases in East Asia (Huang et al., 2008; Zhang et al., 2008;
Onozuka et al., 2010). Other studies from South and East Asia have
shown an association between increased incidence of diarrhea and
higher temperatures and heavy rainfall (Hashizume et al., 2007; Chou
et al., 2010). Increasing coastal water temperatures correlated with
outbreaks of systemic Vibrio vulnificus infection in Israel (Paz et al.,
2007) and South Korea (Kim and Jang, 2010). Cholera outbreaks in
coastal populations in South Asia have been associated with increased
water temperatures and algal blooms (Huq et al., 2005). The El NioSouthern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle and Indian Ocean Dipole have been
associated with cholera epidemics in Bangladesh (Pascual et al., 2000;
Rod et al., 2002; Hashizume et al., 2011).

24.4.6.2.5. Vector-borne diseases


Increasing temperatures affect vector-borne pathogens during the
extrinsic incubation period and shorten vector life-cycles, facilitating
larger vector populations and enhanced disease transmission, while the
vectors ability to acquire and maintain a pathogen tails off (Paaijmans
et al., 2012). Dengue outbreaks in South and Southeast Asia are correlated
with temperature and rainfall with varying time lags (Su, 2008; Hii et
al., 2009; Hsieh and Chen, 2009; Shang et al., 2010; Sriprom et al., 2010;
Hashizume et al., 2012). Outbreaks of vaccine-preventable Japanese
encephalitis have been linked to rainfall in studies from the Himalayan
region (Partridge et al., 2007; Bhattachan et al., 2009), and to rainfall

Asia

and temperature in South and East Asia (Bi et al., 2007; Murty et al.,
2010). Malaria prevalence is often influenced by non-climate variability
factors, but studies from India and Nepal have found correlations with
rainfall (Devi and Jauhari, 2006; Dev and Dash, 2007; Dahal, 2008; Laneri
et al., 2010). Temperature was linked to distribution and seasonality of
malaria mosquitoes in Saudi Arabia (Kheir et al., 2010). The reemergence
of malaria in central China has been attributed to rainfall and increases
in temperature close to water bodies (Zhou et al., 2010). In China,
temperature, precipitation, and the virus-carrying index among rodents
have been found to correlate with the prevalence of hemorrhagic fever
with renal syndrome (Guan et al., 2009).

24.4.6.2.6. Livelihoods and poverty


An estimated 51% of total income in rural Asia comes from non-farm
sources (Haggblade et al., 2009, 2010), mostly local non-farm business
and employment. The contribution of remittances to rural income has
grown steadily (Estudillo and Otsuka, 2010). Significant improvements
have been made in poverty eradication over the past decade (World
Bank, 2007), with rapid reductions in poverty in East Asia, followed
by South Asia (IFAD, 2010). A significant part of the reduction has
come from population shifts, rapid growth in agriculture, and urban
contributions (Janvry and Sadoulet, 2010). Climate change negatively
impacts livelihoods (see Table SM24-4) and these impacts are directly
related to natural resources affected by changes in weather and climate.
Factors that have made agriculture less sustainable in the past include
input non-responsive yields, soil erosion, natural calamities, and water
and land quality related problems (Dev, 2011). These have predisposed
rural livelihoods to climate change vulnerability. Livelihoods are impacted
by droughts (Selvaraju et al., 2006; Harshita, 2013), floods (Nguyen,
2007; Keskinen et al., 2010; Nuorteva et al., 2010; Dun, 2011), and
typhoons (Huigen and Jens, 2006; Gaillard et al., 2007; Uy et al., 2011).
Drought disproportionately impacts small farmers, agricultural laborers,
and small businessmen (Selvaraju et al., 2006), who also have least
access to rural safety net mechanisms, including financial services (IFAD,
2010), despite recent developments in microfinance services in parts of
Asia. Past floods have exposed conditions such as lack of access to
alternative livelihoods, difficulty in maintaining existing livelihoods, and
household debts leading to migration in the Mekong region (Dun, 2011).
Similar impacts of repeated floods leading to perpetual vulnerability
were found in the Tonle Sap Lake area of Cambodia (Nuorteva et al.,
2010; Keskinen et al., 2010). Typhoon impacts are mainly through
damage to the livelihood assets of coastal populations in the Philippines
and the level of ownership of livelihood assets has been a major
determinant of vulnerability (Uy et al., 2011).

24.4.6.3. Projected Impacts


24.4.6.3.1. Health effects
An emerging public health concern in Asia is increasing mortality and
morbidity due to heat waves. An aging population will increase the
number of people at risk, especially those with cardiovascular and
respiratory disorders. Urban heat island effects have increased (Tan et
al., 2010), although local adaptation of the built environment and urban

Chapter 24

planning will determine the impacts on public health. Heat stress


disorders among workers and consequent productivity losses have also
been reported (Lin et al., 2009; Langkulsen et al., 2010). The relationship
between temperature and mortality is often U-shaped (Guo et al., 2009),
with increased mortality also during cold events, particularly in rural
environments, even if temperatures do not fall below 0C (Hashizume
et al., 2009). However, some studies in developing areas suggest that
factors other than climate can be important, so warming may not
decrease cold-related deaths much in these regions (Honda and Ono,
2009).
Climate change will affect the local transmission of many climatesensitive diseases. Increases in heavy rain and temperature are
projected to increase the risk of diarrheal diseases in, for example, China
(Zhang et al., 2008). However, the impact of climate change on malaria
risk will differ between areas, as projected for West and South Asia
(Husain and Chaudhary, 2008; Garg et al., 2009; Majra and Gur, 2009),
while a study suggested that the impact of socioeconomic development
will be larger than that of climate change (Bguin et al., 2011).
Climate change is also expected to affect the spatiotemporal distribution
of dengue fever in the region, although the level of evidence differs
across geographical locations (Banu et al., 2011). Some studies have
developed climate change-disease prevalence models; for example, one
for schistosomiasis in China shows an increased northern distribution
of the disease with climate change (Zhou et al., 2008; Kan et al., 2012).
Impacts of climate change on fish production (Qiu et al., 2010) are being
studied, along with impacts on chemical pathways in the marine
environment and consequent impacts on food safety (Tirado et al.,
2010), including seafood safety (Marques et al., 2010).

24.4.6.3.2. Livelihood and poverty


Floods, droughts, and changes in seasonal rainfall patterns are expected
to negatively impact crop yields, food security, and livelihoods in
vulnerable areas (Dawe et al., 2008; Kelkar et al., 2008; Douglas, 2009).
Rural poverty in parts of Asia could be exacerbated (Skoufias et al.,
2011) as a result of impacts on the rice crop and increases in food prices
and the cost of living (Hertel et al., 2010; Rosegrant, 2011). The poverty
impacts of climate change will be heterogeneous among countries and
social groups (see Table SM24-5). In a low crop productivity scenario,
producers in food exporting countries, such as Indonesia, the Philippines,
and Thailand, would benefit from global food price rises and reduce
poverty, while countries such as Bangladesh would experience a net
increase in poverty of approximately 15% by 2030 (Hertel et al., 2010).
These impacts will also differ within food exporting countries, with
disproportionate negative impacts on farm laborers and the urban poor.
Skoufias et al. (2011) project significant negative impacts of a rainfall
shortfall on the welfare of rice farmers in Indonesia, compared to a
delay in rainfall onset. These impacts may lead to global mass migration
and related conflicts (Laczko and Aghazarm, 2009; Barnett and Webber,
2010; Warner, 2010; World Bank, 2010).
In North Asia, climate-driven changes in tundra and forest-tundra
biomes may influence indigenous peoples who depend on nomadic
tundra pastoralism, fishing, and hunting (Kumpula et al., 2011).
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Chapter 24

24.4.6.4. Vulnerabilities to Key Drivers

24

Key vulnerabilities vary widely within the region. Climate change can
exacerbate current socioeconomic and political disparities and add
to the vulnerability of Southeast Asia and Central Asia to security
threats that may be transnational in nature (Jasparro and Taylor, 2008;
Lioubimtseva and Henebry, 2009). Apart from detrimental impacts of
extreme events, vulnerability of livelihoods in agrarian communities also
arises from geographic settings, demographic trends, socioeconomic factors,
access to resources and markets, unsustainable water consumption,
farming practices, and lack of adaptive capacity (Acosta-Michlik and
Espaldon, 2008; Allison et al., 2009; Byg and Salick, 2009; Lioubimtseva
and Henebry, 2009; Salick and Ross, 2009; Salick et al., 2009; UN DESA
Statistics Division, 2009; Xu et al., 2009; Knox et al., 2011; Mulligan et
al., 2011). Urban wage laborers were found to be more vulnerable to
cost of living related poverty impacts of climate change than those who
directly depend on agriculture for their livelihoods (Hertel et al., 2010).
In Indonesia, drought-associated fires increase vulnerability of agriculture,
forestry, and human settlements, particularly in peatland areas (Murdiyarso
and Lebel, 2007). Human health is also a major area of focus for Asia
(Munslow and ODempsey, 2010), where the magnitude and type of health
effects from climate change depend on differences in socioeconomic and
demographic factors, health systems, the natural and built environment,
land use changes, and migration, in relation to local resilience and adaptive
capacity. The role of institutions is also critical, particularly in influencing
vulnerabilities arising from gender (Ahmed and Fajber, 2009), caste and
ethnic differences (Jones and Boyd, 2011), and securing climate-sensitive
livelihoods in rural areas (Agrawal and Perrin, 2008).

24.4.6.5. Adaptation Options


Disaster preparedness on a local community level could include a
combination of indigenous coping strategies, early-warning systems,
and adaptive measures (Paul and Routray, 2010). Heat warning systems
have been successful in preventing deaths among risk groups in
Shanghai (Tan et al., 2007). New work practices to avoid heat stress
among outdoor workers in Japan and the United Arab Emirates have
also been successful (Morioka et al., 2006; Joubert et al., 2011). Early
warning models have been developed for haze exposure from wildfires,
in, for example, Thailand (Kim Oanh and Leelasakultum, 2011), and are
being tested in infectious disease prevention and vector control programs,
as for malaria in Bhutan (Wangdi et al., 2010) and Iran (Haghdoost et
al., 2008), or are being developed, as for dengue fever region-wide
(Wilder-Smith et al., 2012).
Some adaptation practices provide unexpected livelihood benefits, as
with the introduction of traditional flood mitigation measures in China,
which could positively impact local livelihoods, leading to reductions in
both the physical and economic vulnerabilities of communities (Yu et
al., 2009). A greater role of local communities in decision making is also
proposed (Alauddin and Quiggin, 2008) and in prioritization and adoption
of adaptation options (Prabhakar et al., 2010; Prabhakar and Srinivasan,
2011). Defining adequate community property rights, reducing income
disparity, exploring market-based and off-farm livelihood options, moving
from production-based approaches to productivity and efficiency decisionmaking based approaches, and promoting integrated decision-making
1350

Asia

approaches have also been suggested (Merrey et al., 2005; Brouwer et


al., 2007; Paul et al., 2009; Niino, 2011; Stucki and Smith, 2011).
Climate-resilient livelihoods can be fostered through the creation of
bundles of capitals (natural, physical, human, financial, and social capital)
and poverty eradication (Table SM24-8). Greater emphasis on agricultural
growth has been suggested as an effective means of reducing rural poverty
(Janvry and Sadoulet, 2010; Rosegrant, 2011). Bundled approaches are
known to facilitate better adaptation than individual adaptation options
(Acosta-Michlik and Espaldon, 2008; Fleischer et al., 2011). Communitybased approaches have been suggested to identify adaptation options
that address poverty and livelihoods, as these techniques help capture
information at the grassroots (Huq and Reid, 2007; van Aalst et al., 2008),
and help integration of disaster risk reduction, development, and climate
change adaptation (Heltberg et al., 2010), connect local communities
and outsiders (van Aalst et al., 2008), address the location-specific nature
of adaptation (Iwasaki et al., 2009; Rosegrant, 2011), help facilitate
community learning processes (Baas and Ramasamy, 2008), and help
design location-specific solutions (Ensor and Berger, 2009). Some
groups can become more vulnerable to change after being locked into
specialized livelihood patterns, as with fish farmers in India (Coulthard,
2008).
Livelihood diversification, including livelihood assets and skills, has been
suggested as an important adaptation option for buffering climate
change impacts on certain kinds of livelihoods (Selvaraju et al., 2006;
Nguyen, 2007; Agrawal and Perrin, 2008; IFAD, 2010; Keskinen et al.,
2010; Uy et al., 2011). The diversification should occur across assets,
including productive assets, consumption strategies, and employment
opportunities (Agrawal and Perrin, 2008). Ecosystem-based adaptation
has been suggested to secure livelihoods in the face of climate change
(Jones et al., 2012), integrating the use of biodiversity and ecosystem
services into an overall strategy to help people adapt (IUCN, 2009).
Among financial means, low-risk liquidity options such as microfinance
programs and risk transfer products can help lift the rural poor from
poverty and accumulate assets (Barrett et al., 2007; Jarvis et al., 2011).

24.4.7. Valuation of Impacts and Adaptation


Economic valuation in Asia generally covers impacts and vulnerabilities
of disperse sectors such as food production, water resources, and human
health (Aydinalp and Cresser, 2008; Kelkar et al., 2008; Lioubimtseva
and Henebry, 2009; Su et al., 2009; Srivastava et al., 2010). Multi-sector
evaluation that unpacks the relationships between and across sectors,
particularly in a context of resource scarcity and competition, is very
limited. Information is scarce especially for North, Central, and West
Asia.
Generally, annual losses from drought are expected to increase based
on various projections under diverse scenarios, but such losses are
expected to be reduced if adaptation measures are implemented
(ADB, 2009; Sutton et al., 2013). It is also stressed that there are great
uncertainties associated with the economic aspects of climate change.
In China, the total loss due to drought projected in 2030 is expected to
range from US$1.1 to 1.7 billion for regions in northeast China and about
US$0.9 billion for regions in north China (ECA, 2009), with adaptation

Asia

measures having the potential to avert half of the losses. In India, the
estimated countrywide agricultural loss in 2030more than US$7
billion, which will severely affect the income of 10% of the population
could be reduced by 80% if cost-effective climate resilience measures
are implemented (ECA, 2009).
In Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam, under the A2
scenario, the Policy Analysis for the Greenhouse Effect 2002 (PAGE2002)
integrated assessment model projects a mean loss of 2.2% of GDP by
2100 on an annual basis, if only the market impact (mainly related to
agriculture and coastal zones) is considered (ADB, 2009). This is well
above the worlds projected mean GDP loss of 0.6% each year by 2100
due to market impact alone. In addition, the mean cost for the four
countries could reach 5.7% of GDP if non-market impacts related to
health and ecosystems are included and 6.7% of GDP if catastrophic
risks are also taken into account. The cost of adaptation for agriculture
and coastal zones is expected to be about US$5 billion per year by 2020
on average. Adaptation that is complemented with global mitigation
measures is expected to be more effective in reducing the impacts of
climate change (IPCC, 2007; ADB, 2009; UNFCCC, 2009; MNRE, 2010;
Begum et al., 2011).

Chapter 24

of climate change impact studies for each Asian country over the past
decade (e.g., Karim and Mimura, 2008; Pal and Al-Tabbaa, 2009),
various downscaled tools to support, formulate, and implement climate
change adaptation policy for local governments are under development.
One of the major tools is vulnerability assessment and policy option
identification with Geographical Information Systems (GIS). These tools
are expected to be of assistance in assessing city-specific adaptation
options by examining estimated impacts and identified vulnerability for
some coastal cities and areas in Asian countries (e.g., Brouwer et al.,
2007; Taylor, 2011; Storch and Downes, 2011). These tools and systems
sometimes take the form of integration of top-down approaches and
bottom-up (community-based) approaches (see Section 14.5). Whereas
top-down approaches give scientific knowledge to local actors,
community-based approaches are built on existing knowledge and
expertise to strengthen coping and adaptive capacity by involving local
actors (van Aalst et al., 2008). Community-based approaches may have
a limitation in that they place greater responsibility on the shoulders of
local people without necessarily increasing their capacity proportionately
(Allen, 2006). As the nature of adaptive capacity varies depending
on the formulation of social capital and institutional context in the
local community, it is essential for the approaches to be based on an
understanding of local community structures (Adger, 2003).

24

24.5. Adaptation and Managing Risks


24.5.3. Economic Growth and Equitable Development
24.5.1. Conservation of Natural Resources
Natural resources are already under severe pressure from land use
change and other impacts in much of Asia. Deforestation in Southeast
Asia has received most attention (Sodhi et al., 2010; Miettinen et al.,
2011a), but ecosystem degradation, with the resulting loss of natural
goods and services, is also a major problem in other ecosystems. Land
use change is also a major source of regional greenhouse gas emissions,
particularly in Southeast Asia (see WGI AR5 Section 6.3.2.2, Table 6.3).
Projected climate change is expected to intensify these pressures in
many areas (see Sections 24.4.2.3, 24.4.3.3), most clearly for coral reefs,
where increases in sea surface temperature and ocean acidification are
a threat to all reefs in the region and the millions of people who depend
on them (see Section 5.4.2.4; Boxes CC-CR, CC-OA). Adaptation has so
far focused on minimizing non-climate pressures on natural resources
and restoring connectivity to allow movements of genes and species
between fragmented populations (see Section 24.4.2.5). Authors have
also suggested a need to identify and protect areas that will be subject
to the least damaging climate change (climate refugia) and to identify
additions to the protected area network that will allow for expected
range shifts, for example, by extending protection to higher altitudes
or latitudes. Beyond the intrinsic value of wild species and ecosystems,
ecosystem-based approaches to adaptation aim to use the resilience of
natural systems to buffer human systems against climate change, with
potential social, economic, and cultural co-benefits for local communities
(see Box CC-EA).

Climate change challenges fundamental elements in social and economic


policy goals such as prosperity, growth, equity, and sustainable development
(Mearns and Norton, 2010). Economic, social, and environmental equity
is an enduring challenge in many parts of Asia. Generally, the level of
wealth (typically GDP) has been used as a measure of human vulnerability
of a country but this approach has serious limitations (Dellink et al., 2009;
Mattoo and Subramanian, 2012). In many cases, social capitalan
indicator of equity in income distribution within countriesis a more
important factor in vulnerability and resilience than GDP per capita (Islam
et al., 2006; Lioubimtseva and Henebry, 2009). Furthermore, political
and institutional instabilities can undermine the influence of economic
development (Lioubimtseva and Henebry, 2009). Poor and vulnerable
countries are at greater risk of inequity and loss of livelihoods from the
impacts of climate extremes as their options for coping with such events
are limited. Many factors contribute to this limitation, including poverty,
illiteracy, weak institutions and infrastructures, poor access to resources,
information and technology, poor health care, and low investment and
management capabilities. The overexploitation of land resources including
forests, increases in population, desertification, and land degradation pose
additional threats (UNDP, 2006). This is particularly true for developing
countries in Asia with a high level of natural resource dependency.
Provision of adequate resources based on the burden sharing and the
equity principle will serve to strengthen appropriate adaptation policies
and measures in such countries (Su et al., 2009).

24.5.4. Mainstreaming and Institutional Barriers


24.5.2. Flood Risks and Coastal Inundation
Many coasts in Asia are exposed to threats from floods and coastal
inundation (see also Section 24.4.5.3). Responding to a large number

Mainstreaming climate change adaptation into sustainable development


policies offers a potential opportunity for good practice to build
resilience and reduce vulnerability, depending on effective, equitable,
1351

Chapter 24

Asia

and legitimate actions to overcome barriers and limits to adaptation


(ADB, 2005; Lim et al., 2005; Lioubimtseva and Henebry, 2009). The level
of adaptation mainstreaming is most advanced in the context of official
development assistance, where donor agencies and international financial
institutions have made significant steps toward taking climate change
adaptation into account in their loan and grant making processes
(Gigli and Agrawala, 2007; Klein et al., 2007). Although some practical
experiences of adaptation in Asia at the regional, national, and
local level are emerging, there can be barriers that impede or limit
adaptation. These include challenges related to competing national
priorities, awareness and capacity, financial resources for adaptation
implementation, institutional barriers, biophysical limits to ecosystem
adaptation, and social and cultural factors (Lasco et al., 2009, 2012;
Moser and Ekstrom, 2010). Issues with resource availability might not
only result from climate change, but also from weak governance
mechanisms and the breakdown of policy and regulatory structures,
especially with common-pool resources (Moser and Ekstrom, 2010).
Furthermore, the impact of climate change depends on the inherent
vulnerability of the socio-ecological systems in a region as much as on
the magnitude of the change (Evans, 2010). Recent studies linking
climate-related resource scarcities and conflict call for enhanced
regional cooperation (Gautam, 2012).

Integrated approaches are often needed when developing mitigationadaptation synergies, as seen in waste-to-compost projects in Bangladesh
(Ayers and Huq, 2009). Other adaptation measures that increase
biomass and/or soil carbon content, such as ecosystem protection and
reforestation, will also contribute to climate mitigation by carbon
sequestration. However, exotic monocultures may fix more carbon than
native mixtures while supporting less biodiversity and contributing less
to ecological services, calling for compromises that favor biodiversityrich carbon storage (Diaz et al., 2009). The potential for both adaptation
and mitigation through forest restoration is greatest in the tropics
(Sasaki et al., 2011). At higher latitudes (>45N), reforestation can have
a net warming influence by reducing surface albedo (Anderson-Teixeira
et al., 2012). Expansion of biofuel crops on abandoned and marginal
agricultural lands could potentially make a large contribution to
mitigation of carbon emissions from fossil fuels, but could also have
large negative consequences for both carbon and biodiversity if it results
directly or indirectly in the conversion of carbon-rich ecosystems to
cropland (Fargione et al., 2010; Qin et al., 2011). Mechanisms, such as
Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation
(REDD+), that put an economic price on land use emissions, could
reduce the risks of such negative consequences (Thomson et al., 2010),
but the incentive structures need to be worked out very carefully (Busch
et al., 2012).

24.5.5. Role of Higher Education


in Adaptation and Risk Management

Forests and their management are also often emphasized for providing
resilient livelihoods and reducing poverty (Chhatre and Agrawal, 2009;
Noordwijk, 2010; Persha et al., 2010; Larson, 2011). Securing rights to
resources is essential for greater livelihood benefits for poor indigenous
and traditional people (Macchi et al., 2008) and the need for REDD+
schemes to respect and promote community forest tenure rights has been
emphasized (Angelsen, 2009). It has been suggested that indigenous
people can provide a bridge between biodiversity protection and climate
change adaptation (Salick and Ross, 2009): a point that appears to
be missing in the current discourse on ecosystem-based adaptation.
There are arguments against REDD+ supporting poverty reduction due
to its inability to promote productive use of forests, which may keep
communities in perpetual poverty (Campbell, 2009), but there is a
contrasting view that REDD+ can work in forests managed for timber
production (Guariguata et al., 2008; Putz et al., 2012), especially through
reduced impact logging (Guariguata et al., 2008) and other approaches
such as assuring the legality of forest products, certifying responsible
management, and devolving control over forests to empowered local
communities (Putz et al., 2012).

24

To enhance the development of young professionals in the field of climate


change adaptation, the topic could be included in higher education,
especially in formal education programs. Shaw et al. (2011) mentioned
that higher education in adaptation and disaster risk reduction in the
Asia-Pacific region can be done through environment disaster linkage,
focus on hydro-meteorological disasters, and emphasizing synergy
issues between adaptation and risk reduction. Similar issues are also
highlighted by other authors (Chhokar, 2010; Niu et al., 2010;
Nomura and Abe, 2010; Ryan et al., 2010). Higher education should be
done through lectures and course work, field studies, internships, and
establishing the education-research link by exposing students to field
realities. In this regard, guiding principles could include an inclusive
curriculum, focus on basic theory, field orientation, multidisciplinary
courses, and practical skill enhancement. Bilateral or multilateral
practical research programs on adaptation and risk management by
graduate students and young faculty members would expose them to
real field problems.

24.6. Adaptation and Mitigation Interactions


Integrated mitigation and adaptation responses focus on either land
use changes or technology development and use. Changes in land use,
such as agroforestry, may provide both mitigation and adaptation
benefits (Verchot et al., 2007), or otherwise, depending on how they
are implemented. Agroforestry practices provide carbon storage and
may decrease soil erosion, increase resilience against floods, landslides,
and drought, increase soil organic matter, reduce the financial impact
of crop failure, as well as have biodiversity benefits over other forms of
agriculture, as shown, for example, in Indonesia (Clough et al., 2011).
1352

On rivers and coasts, the use of hard defenses (e.g., channelization, sea
walls, bunds, dams) to protect agriculture and human settlements from
flooding may have negative consequences for both natural ecosystems
and carbon sequestration by preventing natural adjustments to changing
conditions (see Section 24.4.3.5). Conversely, setting aside landward
buffer zones along coasts and rivers would be positive for both. The
very high carbon sequestration potential of the organic-rich soils in
mangroves (Donato et al., 2011) and peat swamp forests (Page et al.,
2011) provides opportunities for combining adaptation with mitigation
through restoration of degraded areas.
Mitigation measures can also result in public health benefits (Bogner
et al., 2008; Haines et al., 2009). For example, sustainable cities with fewer

Asia

fossil fuel-driven vehicles (mitigation) and more trees and greenery


(carbon storage and adaptation to the urban heat island effect) would
have a number of co-benefits, including public healtha promising
strategy for triple win interventions (Romero-Lankao et al., 2011).
Other examples include efforts to decarbonize electricity production in
India and China that are projected to decrease mortality due to reduced
particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter <5 m (PM5) and
<2.5 m (PM2.5) (Markandya et al., 2009); policies to increase public
transportation, promote walking and cycling, and reduce private cars
that will increase air quality and decrease the health burden, particularly
in urban environments as projected in India (Woodcock et al., 2009);
and abandoning the use of biomass fuel or coal for indoor cooking and
heating to improve indoor air quality and respiratory and cardiac health
among, in particular, women and children in India and China (Wilkinson
et al., 2009). Conversely, actions to reduce current environmental-public
health issues may often have beneficial mitigation effects, like traffic
emissions reduction programs in China (Wu et al., 2011) and India
(Reynolds and Kandikar, 2008).

24.7. Intra-regional and Inter-regional Issues


24.7.1. Transboundary Pollution
Many Asian countries and regions face long-distance and transboundary
air pollution problems. In eastern China, Japan, and the Korean Peninsula,
these include dust storms that originate in the arid and semiarid regions
upwind, with impacts on climate, human health, and ecosystems (Huang
et al., 2013). The susceptibility of the land surface to wind erosion is
strongly influenced by vegetation cover, which is in turn sensitive to
climate change and other human impacts. In the humid tropics of
Southeast Asia, in contrast, the major transboundary pollution issue
involves smoke aerosols from burning of biomass and peatlands, mostly
during clearance for agriculture (Miettinen et al., 2011b; Gautam et al.,
2013). Apart from the large impact on human health, these aerosols
may be having a significant effect on rainfall in equatorial regions, leading
to the possibility of climate feedbacks, with fires reducing rainfall and
promoting further fires (Tosca et al., 2012).
Pollutants of industrial origin are also a huge problem in many parts of
the region, with well-documented impacts on human health (Section
24.4.6) and the climate (see WGI AR5 Chapters 7, 8).

24.7.2. Trade and Economy


The ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA) and the Indonesia-Japan
Economic Partnership Agreement (IJEPA) have positively impacted the
Indonesian economy and reduced water pollution, but increased CO2
emissions by 0.46% compared to the business-as-usual situation, mainly
due to large emission increases in the transportation sector (Gumilang
et al., 2011). Full liberalization of tariffs and GDP growth concentrated
in China and India have led to transport emissions growing much faster
than the value of trade, as result of a shift toward distant trading partners
(Cristea et al., 2013). Chinas high economic growth and flourishing
domestic and international trade has resulted in increased consumption
and pollution of water resources (Guan and Hubacek, 2007). Japanese

Chapter 24

imports from the ASEAN region are negatively correlated with per capita
carbon emissions (Atici, 2012) owing to strict regulations in Japan that
prevent import from polluting sectors. Export-led growth is central to
the economic progress and well-being of Southeast Asian countries.
Generally, as exports rise, carbon emissions tend to rise. International
trading systems that help address the challenge of climate change need
further investigation.

24.7.3. Migration and Population Displacement


Floods and droughts are predominant causes for internal displacement
(IDMC, 2011). In 2010 alone, 38.3 million people were internally displaced:
85% because of hydrological hazards and 77% in Asia. Floods are
increasingly playing a role in migration in the Mekong Delta (Warner,
2010). Often some migrants return to the vulnerable areas (Piguet, 2008)
giving rise to ownership, rights of use, and other issues (Kolmannskog,
2008). Increasing migration has led to increasing migration-induced
remittances contributing to Asian economies, but has had negligible
effect on the poverty rate (Vargas-Silva et al., 2009). In Bangladesh,
migrant workers live and work under poor conditions, such as crowded
shelters, inadequate sanitation, conflict and competition with the local
population, and exploitation (Penning-Rowsell et al., 2011). Forced
migration can result from adaptation options such as construction of
dams, but the negative outcomes could be allayed by putting proper
safeguards in place (Penning-Rowsell et al., 2011). Managed retreat of
coastal communities is a suggested option to address projected sea
level rise (Alexander et al., 2012). A favorable approach to deal with
migration is within a development framework and through adaptation
strategies (Penning-Rowsell et al., 2011; ADB, 2012).

24.8. Research and Data Gaps


Studies of observed climate changes and their impacts are still inadequate
for many areas, particularly in North, Central, and West Asia (Table 24-2).
Improved projections for precipitation, and thus water supply, are most
urgently needed. Another priority is developing water management
strategies for adaptation to changes in demand and supply. More research
is also needed on the health effects of changes in water quality and
quantity. Understanding of climate change impacts on ecosystems and
biodiversity in Asia is currently limited by the poor quality and low
accessibility of biodiversity information (UNEP, 2012). National biodiversity
inventories are incomplete and few sites have the baseline information
needed to identify changes. For the tropics, major research gaps include
the temperature dependence of carbon fixation by tropical trees, the
thermal tolerances and acclimation capacities of both plants and animals,
and the direct impacts of rising CO2 (Corlett, 2011; Zuidema et al., 2013).
Rising CO2 is also expected to be important in cool-arid ecosystems,
where lack of experimental studies currently limits ability to make
predictions (Poulter et al., 2013). Boreal forest dynamics will be influenced
by complex interactions between rising temperatures and CO2,
permafrost thawing, forest fires, and insect outbreaks (Osawa et al.,
2010; Zhang et al., 2011), and understanding this complexity will require
enhanced monitoring of biodiversity and species ranges, improved
modeling, and greater knowledge of species biology (Meleshko and
Semenov, 2008).
1353

24

Chapter 24

Asia

Rice is the most studied crop but there are still significant uncertainties
in model accuracy, CO2-fertilization effects, and regional differences
(Masutomi et al., 2009; Zhang et al., 2010; Shuang-He et al., 2011). For
other crops, there is even greater uncertainty. Studies are also needed
of the health effects of interactions between heat and air pollution in
urban and rural environments.

on livelihoods in areas with greater dependence on natural resources


(Paul et al., 2009). Increasing regional collaboration in scientific research
and policy making has been suggested for reducing climate change
impacts on water, biodiversity, and livelihoods in the Himalayan region
(Xu et al., 2009) and could be considered elsewhere. The literature
suggests that work must begin now on building understanding of the
impacts of climate change and moving forward with the most costeffective adaptation measures (ADB, 2007; Cai et al., 2008; Stage, 2010).

More generally, research is needed on impacts, vulnerability, and


adaptation in urban settlements, especially cities with populations of less
than 500,000, which share half the regions urban population. Greater
understanding is required of the linkages between local livelihoods,
ecosystem functions, and land resources for creating a positive impact

For devising mitigation policies, the key information needed is again


the most cost-effective measures (Nguyen, 2007; Cai et al., 2008; Mathy
and Guivarch, 2010).

Table 24-2 | The amount of information supporting conclusions regarding observed and projected impacts in Asia.
Topics / issues
Sector

Freshwater
resources

24

O = Observed impacts,
P = Projected Impacts

North Asia

East Asia

Southeast
Asia

South Asia

Central Asia

West Asia

Major river runoff

Water supply

Permafrost

Terrestrial and Phenology and growth rates


inland water
Distributions of species and biomes
systems
Inland waters

Coastal
systems and
low-lying
areas

Coral reefs

NR

NR

NR

NR

Other coastal ecosystems

NR

NR

Arctic coast erosion

NR

NR

NR

NR

NR

NR

NR

NR

NR

NR

Food
production
systems and
food security

Rice yield

Wheat yield

Corn yield

Other crops (e.g., barley, potato)

Vegetables

Human
settlements,
industry, and
infrastructure

Human
health,
security,
livelihoods,
and poverty

Fruits

Livestock

Fisheries and aquaculture production

Farming area

Water demand for irrigation

Pest and disease occurrence

Floodplains

Coastal areas

NR

NR

Population and assets

x
x

Industry and infrastructure

Health effects of floods

Health effects of heat

Health effects of drought

Water-borne diseases

Vector-borne diseases

Livelihoods and poverty

Economic valuation

Key:
/ = Relatively abundant / sufficient information; knowledge gaps need to be addressed but conclusions can be drawn based on existing information.
x = Limited information / no data; critical knowledge gaps, difficult to draw conclusions.
NR = Not relevant.

1354

Asia

24.9. Case Studies


24.9.1. Transboundary Adaptation Planning and
ManagementLower Mekong River Basin
The Lower Mekong River Basin (LMB) covers an area of approximately
606,000 km2 across the countries of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and
Vietnam. More than 60 million people are heavily reliant on natural
resources, in particular agriculture and fisheries, for their well-being
(MRC, 2009; UNEP, 2010; Figure SM24-2). Thailand and Vietnam produced
51% of the worlds rice exports in 2008, mostly in the LMB (Mainuddin
et al., 2011).
Observations of climate change over the past 30 to 50 years in the LMB
include an increase in temperature, an increase in rainfall in the wet
season and decreases in the dry season, intensified flood and drought
events, and sea level rise (ICEM, 2010; IRG, 2010). Agricultural output
has been noticeably impacted by intensified floods and droughts which
caused almost 90% of rice production losses in Cambodia during 1996
2001 (Brooks and Adger, 2003; MRC, 2009).Vietnam and Cambodia are
two of the countries most vulnerable to climate impacts on fisheries
(Allison et al., 2009; Halls, 2009).
Existing studies about future climate impacts in the Mekong Basin broadly
share a set of common themes (MRC, 2009; Murphy and Sampson,
2013): increased temperature and annual precipitation; increased depth
and duration of flood in the Mekong Delta and Cambodia floodplain;
prolonged agricultural drought in the south and the east of the basin;
and sea level rise and salinity intrusion in the Mekong delta. Hydropower
dams along the Mekong River and its tributaries will also have severe
impacts on fish productivity and biodiversity, by blocking critical fish
migration routes, altering the habitat of non-migratory fish species, and
reducing nutrient flows downstream (Costanza et al., 2011; Baran and
Guerin, 2012; Ziv et al., 2012). Climate impacts, though less severe than
the impact of dams, will exacerbate these changes (Wyatt and Baird,
2007; Grumbine et al., 2012; Orr et al., 2012; Rsnen et al., 2012; Ziv
et al., 2012).
National climate change adaptation plans have been formulated in all
four LMB countries, but transboundary adaptation planning across the
LMB does not exist to date. Effective future transboundary adaptation
planning and management will benefit from: a shared climate projection
across the LMB for transboundary adaptation planning; improved
coordination among adaptation stakeholders and sharing of best
practices across countries; mainstreaming climate change adaptation into
national and sub-national development plans with proper translation
from national adaptation strategies into local action plans; integration
of transboundary policy recommendations into national climate change
plans and policies; and integration of adaptation strategies on landscape
scales between ministries and different levels of government within a
country (MRC, 2009; Kranz et al., 2010; Lian and Bhullar, 2011; Lebel et
al., 2012).
A study of the state-of-adaptation practice in the LMB showed that only
11% (45 of 417) of climate-change related projects in the LMB were

Chapter 24

on-the-ground adaptation efforts driven by climate risks (Ding, 2012;


Neo, 2012; Schaffer and Ding, 2012). Common features of successful
projects include: robust initial gap assessment, engagement of local
stakeholders, and a participatory process throughout (Brown, 2012;
Khim and Phearanich, 2012; Mondal, 2012; Panyakul, 2012; Roth and
Grunbuhel, 2012). A multi-stakeholder Regional Adaptation Action
Network has been proposed with the intent of scaling up and improving
mainstreaming of adaptation through tangible actions following the
theory and successful examples of the Global Action Networks (GANs)
(WCD, 2000; Waddell, 2005; Waddell and Khagram, 2007; GAVI, 2012;
Schaffer and Ding, 2012).

24.9.2. Glaciers of Central Asia


In the late 20th century, central Asian glaciers occupied 31,628 km2
(Dolgushin and Osipova, 1989). All recent basin-scale studies document
multi-decadal area loss (see Figure 24-3); where multiple surveys are
available, most show accelerating loss. The rate of glacier area change
varies (Table SM24-9). Rates between 0.05% yr1 and 0.76% yr1
have been reported in the Altai (Surazakov et al., 2007; Shahgedanova
et al., 2010; Yao, X.-J. et al., 2012) and Tien Shan (Lettenmaier et al.,
2009; Sorg et al., 2012), and between 0.13% yr1 and0.30% yr1 in
the Pamir (Konovalov and Desinov, 2007; Aizen, 2011a,b,c; Yao, X.-J. et
al., 2012). These ranges reflect varying sub-regional distributions of
glacier size (smaller glaciers shrink faster) and debris cover (which
retards shrinkage), but also varying proportions of ice at high altitudes,
where as yet warming has produced little increase in melt (Narama et
al., 2010).
Most studies also document mean-annual (e.g., Glazyrin and Tadzhibaeva,
2011, for 19611990) and summertime (e.g., Shahgedanova et al., 2010)
warming, with slight cooling in the central and eastern Pamir (Aizen,
2011b). Precipitation increases have been observed more often than
decreases (e.g., Braun et al., 2009; Glazyrin and Tadzhibaeva, 2011).
Aizen et al. (2007) calculated 21st-century losses of 43% of the volume
of Tien Shan glaciers for an 8C temperature increase accompanied by
a 24% precipitation increase, but probable complete disappearance of
glaciers if precipitation decreased by 16%; a more moderate 2C
increase led to little loss, but only if accompanied by a 24% precipitation
increase. Drawing on CMIP5 simulations, Radi et al. (2013) simulated
losses by 2100 of between 25 and 90% of 2006 ice volume (including
Tibet Autonomous Region, China, but excluding the Altai and Sayan;
range of all single-model simulations); the 14-GCM model mean losses
are 55% for RCP4.5 and 75% for RCP8.5. Similarly, Marzeion et al.
(2012) found 21st-century volume losses of 50% for RCP2.6, about 57%
for both RCP4.5 and RCP6.0, and 67% for RCP8.5.
The glaciers have therefore been a diminishing store of water, and the
diminution is projected to continue. Paradoxically, this implies more
meltwater, possibly explaining limited observations of increased runoff
(Sorg et al., 2012), but also an eventual decrease of meltwater yield
(see Section 3.4.4). More immediately, it entails a hazard due to the
formation of moraine-dammed glacial lakes (Bolch et al., 2011).

1355

24

Chapter 24

Asia

60 E

70E

80E

90E

45N

40N

Loss of
glacier area
14%

24
35N

(1) Altai-Sayan
(2) Eastern Tien Shan
(3) Northern Tien Shan
(4) Western Tien Shan
(5) Central Tien Shan

(6) Inner Tien Shan


(7) Western Pamir
(8) Eastern Pamir
(9) Central Pamir

12%
10%
8%
5%
3%

Figure 24-3 | Losses of glacier area in the Altai-Sayan, Pamir, and Tien Shan. Remote-sensing data analysis from 1960s (Corona) through 2008 (Landsat, ASTER, and Alos Prism).

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